PRESS RELEASE Brookshire Grocery Company’s top priority is the health and safety of our employee-partners and customers. The company has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation since early January and has continued to implement best practices and procedures to adapt its business model to serve during this unprecedented time.
“In order to continue serving our customers and communities, we share in the responsibility of all essential businesses to serve our customers while preventing unnecessary exposures,” said Brad Brookshire, Chairman and CEO for Brookshire Grocery Co. “We have protocols and procedures in place to protect our employees and customers while in our stores. We were prepared for this pandemic and are continuing to evaluate our protocols every day as further expert guidance becomes available.”
As BGC continues to monitor this pandemic, the company is following guidance from the CDC and health authorities. The company is communicating with leaders, employees and suppliers to keep them updated on current information and health advisements. BGC continues to roll out initiatives, protocols and procedures daily to help prevent and combat the spread of the virus. These are focused in three main areas – best practices in stores, social distancing and employee-partner resources.
Best Practice Efforts in Stores
BGC continues to take proactive and preventive measures, including sanitation practices beyond our normally stringent standards. Employees conduct deep cleaning and sanitizing of stores and hard surfaces as well as fuel stations throughout the day. We have contracted a professional third-party cleaning company to be deployed if a potential exposure has occurred. We have increased the frequency in which we sanitize surfaces such as shopping carts and baskets, keypads, counter tops, etc. As a standard practice, we have sanitizing wipes available near our shopping carts.
The company has provided education and signage in stores for customers and employees, with information for preventative protocols of the CDC for the COVID-19 virus. The company has also suspended the practice of allowing customers to bring reusable bags into its stores. As much as BGC appreciates and shares in our customers commitment to sustainability, the company knows this is the right thing to do in order to further safeguard against the spread of COVID-19.
BGC strongly encourages that the first two hours of operations be reserved as a dedicated time for senior citizens and critical and emergency responders. We are asking for customers’ help in honoring this practice and in moving any senior guests to the front of the check-out line throughout the day.
Social distancing is an effective way to slow the spread and reduce the risk of exposure to the coronavirus. Social distancing is a set of interventions or measures taken to prevent the spread of a contagious disease by maintaining a physical distance between people and reducing the number of times people come into close contact with each other.
BGC has installed decals on the ground at the checkout to help customers practice social distancing and know how much distance to put between themselves and other customers. As an added layer of protection for both our customers and employees, clear partitions have been installed at checkouts. The company has also established a designated social monitor at each store who is trained to ensure sanitation and social distancing procedures are properly followed.
As a designated “Essential Employer” by both federal and state governments, BGC stores continue to remain open for business because our services have been deemed as critical to the infrastructure of our nation. All employees have been told they can wear gloves and masks to work if they choose. BGC has requested employees to increase wellness practices at work and at home to protect themselves, their families and customers in our stores. We have also enacted specific policies and guidelines for the workplace to minimize exposure and potential spread of the virus.
In recognition and gratitude, as the spirit of our employees shines through in this difficult time, BGC has already given a special half-week’s bonus pay, increased wages for those in our stores and logistics, implemented an extra employee discount, provided on-site meals, and developed a compensation plan for those who may be directly affected by COVID-19.
BGC has hired over 1,700 new employees to help serve the increased business in response to COVID-19. These new employees are not only helping the company serve the increased needs of its communities, but they are also allowing the team to take some much needed time off. The company is grateful to be able to employ people in our communities that may have been laid off.
BGC has also developed a tracking system and followed CDC guidelines for dealing with employees possibly exposed to the virus and those who contract the virus. The company has also followed an isolation procedure and protocol for sick or exposed employees in the workplace which includes the special compensation pay for those effected.
Here are a few highlights of BGC’s employee health protocols:
Wash hands often with soap and water, scrubbing for 20 seconds.
Use alcohol-based hand sanitizers frequently and thoroughly, rubbing until dry.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue and discard the tissue immediately after use. If you don’t have a tissue, cough/sneeze into the crook of your elbow, not hands.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
Avoid close contact with others who are sick.
If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others, including pets. Increase the frequency of sanitization practices at work and home, disinfecting frequently touched surfaces often.
For more about BGC’s COVID-19 efforts, visit https://www.brookshires.com/covid-19-updates for the latest news and information.
Based in Tyler, Texas, BGC is a regional family-owned grocery business that employs more than 15,000 individuals throughout Texas, Louisiana and Arkansas. The company operates more than 180 stores under the Brookshire’s, Super 1 Foods, FRESH by Brookshire’s and Spring Market banners, along with three distribution centers and corporate offices.