Special to GUIDON
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, the Fort Leonard Wood Commissary reassured its customers and employees that their health and welfare is the commissaries’ top priority.
“Throughout the year we advise our customers to be ready for any emergency, natural or manmade. And we still want our customers to be prepared,” said Rachelle Davidson, Fort Leonard Wood Commissary store director. “We are always vigilant to ensure our workforce follows the strictest precautionary measures including routine hand washing and other basic sanitation measures to avoid spreading germs.”
COVID-19 safety measures
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fort Leonard Wood Commissary has implemented numerous measures to help mitigate the spread of the virus, Davidson said.
“All employees and patrons are required to wear face coverings in DeCA facilities as recommended by the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention),” she said. “It is important to remember that masks are not intended to protect the person wearing the mask, but those around them. The mask protects all coworkers and customers, and all coworkers’ and customers’ masks protect each other.”
Below is a list of other changes patrons may notice in the store:
— There are plexiglass shields in checkout lanes.
— There are restricted times for patron shopping by patron group, and there are no early bird special hours. For individuals 65 years old or older, or those considered high-risk, 9 to 10 a.m. Mondays through Fridays are reserved for them.
— Deep cleaning takes place every two to three hours.
— Management may need to implement purchase limitations on products to ensure that the store can meet the increased requirements.
— The Commissary conducts daily health screenings of anyone who works in commissaries — including employees, baggers and affiliated contractors — before they start their shifts.
— Commissary personnel wipe down checkout areas and other surfaces between customers. They practice routine hand-washing and other basic sanitation measures.
— Touchless credit card processing eliminates the need for the customer to sign for purchases under $50.
— Customers scan their own ID cards so cashiers can provide them touchless transactions.
— Special events such as the spring sidewalk sales, in-store product demonstrations — including DeCA’s free coffee program, group tours, vendor-sponsored events and other events have been canceled to discourage group gatherings.
Will COVID-19 impact supply?
According to Fort Leonard Wood Commissary staff, supplies in some high-demand categories may be limited at times, but restocking has not been affected and will continue daily.
There is no evidence that the coronavirus can spread through food, according to a statement released by retired Rear Adm. Robert Bianchi, DoD special assistant for commissary operations.
“DeCA and its industry suppliers are working together to support our military communities, and we’re diligently monitoring inventory levels at our distribution centers and working closely with senior leaders on the ground at each location to overcome any challenges that might impact the timely delivery of products to stores,” Davidson said. “However, regardless of the situation, we recommend that (patrons) calmly purchase what they need and avoid any panic buying to ensure products are available for others in their communities.”
Store directors have the flexibility to determine item limitations based on supplier availability and customer demand. These actions help stores control stock outs and panic buying, said William Moore, DeCA director.
“At this time, when the industry-wide grocery logistics system is being stressed, we want our customers to know we are aggressively partnering with the supplier community to fix any shortages and ensure our military patrons have shelves full of what they need over the holidays,” he said.
According to Bianchi, there is no need to worry about delivery delays.
“We continue to fully support all commissaries impacted by this crisis and will maintain this support to ensure product availability,” he said.
Customers should continue to refer to DeCA’s COVID-19 page at https://www.commis saries.com/coronavirus for updates related to their local stores.
(Editor’s note: Information in this article was taken from articles published by the DeCA Public Affairs Office.)