Aldi, the discount grocery chain with 10,000 stores in 20 countries, just announced a new service that will make it easier for more customers to get their food quickly while encouraging social distancing.
On Thursday, the company said its curbside grocery pickup will be rolling out to an additional 600 locations in 35 states over the next few weeks following a successful pilot program.
The move comes as the chain continues to enforce safety measures it has been rolling out since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
New social-distancing measures
Since March, Aldi has been installing social-distancing cues in nearly all of its 2,000 U.S. stores, including decals on the floors telling people where to stand and signage to remind customers to stay at least six feet away from other shoppers. On April 9, the store installed one-way aisles to help control customer flow inside. Currently, stores limit the number of shoppers to five customers per every 1,000 square feet of space.
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In April, Aldi instituted a policy requiring all employees to wear masks and is encouraging customers to do the same. Unlike at Costco, however, wearing a mask is not required to enter most stores unless there is a state or city ordinance that dictates otherwise.
Since April, Aldi stores have also offered special shopping hours for senior citizens, expectant mothers and those with underlying health conditions starting at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
More frequent cleanings
Since early April, Aldi says it has committed to more frequent cleaning of all of high-touch areas in its stores. One major change was the discontinuation of cart-to-cart transfers, in which the customers' scanned groceries are moved to a new cart at the checkout counter. The frequency of cart cleaning throughout the day has also increased.
Aldi began supplying its workers with personal protective equipment on April 2 and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future so all employees can wear face coverings while interacting with customers.
Aldi's store and warehouse employees must also have their temperatures checked periodically. Anyone with a temperature of 100 degrees or higher is sent home and must be symptom-free for 72 hours before they may return to work.
Will Aldi's prices rise?
Though grocery prices across the country have skyrocketed, Aldi says it will continue to work with suppliers to ensure that customers can still expect low prices.
"We are proud to be leading the industry with some of the best, most innovative suppliers. These relationships, along with our simple and efficient approach to grocery retailing enable us to pass measurable savings along to you, day after day," said Aldi's U.S. CEO Jason Hart in an announcement posted May 18.
Since the majority of Aldi's goods are private label, the chain's suppliers are not affected by the same supply chain issues other major supermarkets are facing amid the pandemic.