Hy-Vee has begun deploying an automated cleaning system, called Sterile Cart, that it said fully cleans and sanitizes shopping carts after every use.
Plans call for more than 200 Hy-Vee stores in eight Midwestern states to have a Sterile Cart system in operation by mid-November. In announcing the rollout on Wednesday, Hy-Vee said it’s the nation’s first supermarket chain to implement the cart sanitization system chainwide.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been our desire to put Hy-Vee customers’ minds at ease with thorough sanitization measures,” Hy-Vee Chairman, CEO and President Randy Edeker said in a statement. “We are always looking at innovative ways to improve store operations, improve the shopping experience for customers and, most importantly, ensure the health and safety of our customers and our employees.”
Sterile Cart cleans several carts at a time and sanitizes the entire cart — not just the handles and high-touch areas — quickly and consistently, according to Hy-Vee. The West Des Moines, Iowa-based retailer noted that the system eliminates the need for store employees to manually clean each cart throughout the day. Since the coronavirus outbreak, Hy-Vee stores have regularly cleaned carts throughout the day, as well as provided cleaning wipes at cart pickup areas.
Employing a low-pressure spray system and a dry-in-place disinfectant, Sterile Cart has a six-by-four-feet footprint, enabling it to be placed wherever shopping carts are returned and staged for customer use, Hy-Vee said. The system is made by Buffalo, Minn.-based IZZA Manufacturing and distributed by Ultra Green Packaging.
According to Kristin Davidson, president of Minneapolis-based Ultra Green, Sterile Cart was conceived and designed specifically to help fight the spread of COVID-19.
“The Sterile Cart system uses a hospital-grade disinfectant that is proven to kill 99.9% of germs and viruses that cause illnesses, including coronavirus,” Davidson explained. “The system ships fully assembled, takes up minimal space and sanitizes one to two carts per second. The Sterile Cart system provides peace of mind, knowing that the carts are cleaned after every use.”
Deployment of the cart sanitizing system to stores marks Hy-Vee’s latest effort to help combat coronavirus. Earlier this month, the company began rolling out free COVID-19 testing to more than 150 pharmacy locations across its Midwestern market area. Each pharmacy can test up to 12 patients per hour.
Hy-Vee operates more than 275 stores in Iowa, Illinois, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
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