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Smart & Final ushers in single-line queuing system for all stores

Customers will now line up single-file at a special swing gate near the checkout area

In its latest coronavirus safety enhancement, Smart & Final has begun implementing a single-line queuing system at checkout in its stores. Commerce, Calif.-based Smart & Final said plans call for the system to be in place at all of its approximately 255 warehouse-style grocery stores before Memorial Day.

Under the new scheme, customers will now line up single-file at a special swing gate near the checkout area in the front of the store, instead of queuing up at each checkout lane. A sign indicates to shoppers where the line starts.

A digital screen positioned at the front of the line tells shoppers when a cashier becomes available and in which lane number, which is highlighted with a flashing light. The screen also will display other messages, such as reminders about physical distancing and other Smart & Final COVID-19 policies.

Smart & Final noted that single-line queueing ensures the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)-recommended social distancing of six feet and directs the next customer to the quickest lane to check out. 

As part of its coronavirus response measures, and in response to local mandates, Smart & Final has been requiring both store associates and customers to wear a face covering since mid-April.

Social distancing efforts also include limiting the number of customers inside stores at a given time, as well as restricting shoppers to no more than two people per group to provide more room to shop. The retailer also has deployed signage and floor decals to help manage the flow of shoppers in stores and enable proper spacing at checkout.

Smart & Final, too, has taken extra safety steps in the checkout lane. Two 36-inch plexiglass barriers have been installed at all registers, and locations requiring additional protection also have back panels at the cashier station.

In addition, the retailer said it performs cleanings throughout stores at the top of every hour — focusing on high-frequency touch points such as checkstands and keypads — as well as sanitizes shopping carts, with sign identifying newly sanitized carts.

“This has been an unprecedented time of change and uncertainty for us all, and Smart & Final remains committed to doing everything we can to provide a safe and comfortable shopping experience,” President and CEO Dave Hirz stated in the company’s latest COVID-19 policy update.

All photos courtesy of Smart & Final.

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