When the coronavirus pandemic began to take hold across the United States last March, grocery retailers responded immediately. Within the first weeks of rising infections and increasing lockdowns, supermarkets embraced their role as essential businesses and centers of the community.
In those early days, grocery stores quickly implemented enhanced safety precautions for their frontline workers and customers, including special shopping hours for seniors and vulnerable customers, hiring hundreds of thousands of workers to stock shelves, clean stores and fulfill online orders and offering hazard pay and bonuses to associates. As the pandemic progressed, grocery stores became testing sites for COVID-19 and food distribution sites for hunger relief, while offering new job opportunities for displaced workers in their communities, many of whom came from the devastated restaurant industry.
Even now, as we pass one year of COVID-19 in the United States, the grocery industry continues to go the extra mile for its associates and communities, with supermarket pharmacies nationwide playing a critical role in the distribution of vaccines.
Supermarket News looks back at a year of retailers’ extra efforts in supporting the community and the grocery work force with this gallery of inspiring, often creative initiatives taken by the industry over the past year — some large, some small, but all undertaken with the goal of easing the impact of COVID-19 in different ways.