Galen Weston is asking Canadians to exercise social distancing while shopping in its stores, as the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada continues to rise.
The executive chairman of Loblaw Companies Limited–the parent of Loblaws, No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore banners–said he was disappointed to hear that shoppers had been treating trips to the grocery store as a social activity.
“Some people are coming in groups or bringing family, treating shopping as a social outing,” Weston said in a note published to the company’s website on Friday afternoon. Others are making “uncomfortable jokes about being COVID-19 positive while leaning around protective screens.”
“On the surface, these kinds of actions can seem harmless, but they are quite concerning for other customers and colleagues,” said Weston. “Although incidents like this are still rare, frustrations are growing. So, please do everything you can to be respectful of the protocols we have put in place–for everyone’s safety.”
Reducing stores hours, limiting the number of customers allowed in its busiest stores, and putting up plexiglass guards at cash to help protect staffers from the virus, are a few of the COVID-19-related protocols Loblaw has adopted in recent weeks.
In his note, Weston also said Loblaw was taking steps to improve its PC Express e-commerce service, which he said was running at three times the normal levels. Weston said a grocery order could take four or more days to fill and suggested shoppers placed orders a few days before they needed them.
Loblaw is working on reducing the assortment available through PC Express to help staff pick orders faster and opening up more time slots for pick up. But, Weston said healthy and mobile shoppers should do their best to shop in store, leaving PC Express for those who are sick, isolated or vulnerable.