Observations from a shopping trip to Safeway on El Camino Real
We’ve not been to the Safeway on El Camino in Menlo Park since the shelter-in-place order was issued on March 16. Our experience this morning is that the staff there is working hard to provide a system that helps people practice social distancing while getting shoppers out of the store as quickly as possible.
After filling your basket, you line up in one long line that is marked with blue lines, that keeps you six feet apart from the next customer. There’s staff at the head of the line who directs you to the next available checker. There is hand sanitization on the check stand and by the door. It was all efficient and orderly and avoided jam-packed lines behind each register.
As with other local supermarkets, there are limits on the number of the most sought after products (usually two per customer) with staff monitoring the quantities people were putting in their cart.
It was surprising to see the number of people wearing face masks (unless they are all sick, and that would be darn scary) given directives from the CDC and County.
From the San Mateo County Health Department: “Good hand washing techniques are the most effective ways to prevent illness. This means washing your hands often with soap and water and rubbing vigorously for at least 20 seconds. If you have a fever or are actively coughing, a face mask is recommended to prevent spread of germs to others around you. If you choose to wear a face mask even if not ill, it is important to understand that face masks are not a substitute for hand washing, which, again, is the most effective way to prevent illness.”
Update: Here’s growing evidence that masks can be an additional tool in curbing the pandemic; see this story from the New York Times.