South Jersey grocery retailers are responding to the spread of COVID-19 by adding Plexiglas barriers at checkout lines to separate staff from shoppers.

Acme Markets, a chain with several locations in Atlantic, Cape May and Cumberland counties, said Wednesday in a Facebook post it has installed the guards “as a protective barrier between customers and checkers.”

The ShopRite in Somers Point has also installed the guards.

Acme also announced it has increased hourly pay for store associates, distribution center and milk plant employees by $2 an hour. In addition, it has placed arrows in aisles so customers maintain 6 feet of distance between themselves and other shoppers in the store and at checkout.

The ShopRite in Somers Point has also taped off spots on the floor at checkout lines to allow customers to maintain 6 feet of distance.

While many businesses throughout the state have been mandated to close after Gov. Phil Murphy announced sweeping restrictions Saturday, grocery stores and pharmacies have been deemed essential and are allowed to stay open during the pandemic.

“We have continued to take enhanced measures to clean and disinfect all departments, restrooms and other high-touch points of the store throughout the day, as well as a deep cleanse at the end of each business day,” said Vivek Sankaran, president and CEO of Acme’s parent company, Albertsons. “Cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations continue to be available at key locations within the store for your convenience.”

In a Tuesday news release, Walmart executives said the store is installing sneeze guards in the pharmacy lanes at Walmart and Sam’s Club locations. They’ll be installing the Plexiglas barriers at Walmart registers over the next two to three weeks.

“Staying safe and healthy is more important than ever for our associates, our customers and for us,” according to the release. “Installing these barriers is another way Walmart is helping bring peace of mind that we are doing everything we can to keep our people and our stores safe.”

Contact: 609-272-7241

Twitter @ACPressMollyB

Staff Writer

My beat is public safety, following police and crime. I started in January 2018 here at the Press covering Egg Harbor and Galloway townships. Before that, I worked at the Reading Eagle in Reading, Pa., covering crime and writing obituaries.

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