- Weis Markets and Hannaford have resumed their curbside grocery pickup services, which the companies halted in March as the novel coronavirus outbreak gained momentum, the supermarket chains announced on their websites. Both stores are only offering the service at certain locations.
- The chains have implemented procedures to ensure that shoppers and store employees do not come into contact with one another. Neither grocer will accept cash or paper coupons, and Hannaford’s website instructs customers to remain in their vehicles when they arrive at the store until told to exit.
- Both grocers note that some items may be unavailable due to heavy demand. Weis is not allowing substitutions, while Hannaford is advising customers that it will not review items that have been provided in place of what a shopper requested when they arrive at the store to pick up their order.
The decision by Weis Markets and Hannaford to resume their grocery pickup operations is a sign they are beginning to adapt to the surge in demand for groceries that is overwhelming supermarkets across the country.
In a March 14 tweet, Weis Markets said it had decided to suspend its Weis 2 Go pickup and delivery services at the time because it couldn't keep up at the time, although the company continued to allow customers to order groceries for delivery through Shipt. Shipt also handles delivery operations for Hannaford.
Due to overwhelming demand as the result of COVID 19 concerns, we have temporarily shutdown our Weis 2 Go online ordering with curbside pickup and home delivery. However you can continue to order at https://t.co/s7hF6wYcYe. We apologize for the inconvenience.— Weis Markets (@WeisMarkets) March 14, 2020
The resumption of pickup services could play a key role in helping grocers keep down the number of customers in stores while fulfilling demand as efficiently as possible. Nearly a third of U.S. households, or about 40 million, used home delivery and pickup during March, according to a survey conducted by Brick Meets Click and ShopperKit. The report, which was based on responses from more than 1,600 U.S. adults, also found that 30% of those who did not currently use online grocery services plan to during the next few months if the crisis doesn’t calm down.
By their nature, pickup services also reduce interaction between shoppers and other customers, and Weis' and Hannaford's protocols enacted to separate shoppers from store employees keep store associates safe as well.
Grocery stores have remained open even though a large chunk of the economy has ground to a standstill amid coronavirus. Supermarkets have made efforts to ensure social distancing a top priority, including implementing restrictions on the number of people they allow in at a single time, installing signage and procedures to keep people from getting too close to each other and putting up barriers at checkout counters and other locations to separate staff from customers.