The coronavirus pandemic has caused toilet paper shortages and long lines, but panic buying is not a new phenomenon and it certainly isn’t helping.
COVID-19 is bringing a quantum shift to the way America shops.
As the nation continues to grapple with the growing coronavirus crisis, retailers including Walmart, Target and Costco are limiting how many shoppers can enter stores to encourage social distancing.
Some retailers are taking limits even further. Wisconsin-based Menards will no longer allow children under 16 to be in any of its stores due to the COVID-pandemic, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, part of the USA TODAY Network, reported Friday.
Menards spokesman Jeff Abbott told KVRR Local News, a North Dakota station, that the home improvement chain plans to start taking shoppers’ and employees’ temperatures across the company’s 300-plus stores.
And in Miami Beach starting April 7, all customers and employees will need to wear masks inside grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies, an emergency measure approved by the South Florida city Friday.
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Leave kids home during COVID-19
According to Menards website, stores will ask for identification, such as a driver’s license, to anyone who appears under the age of 16.
“We absolutely love families, but need to lessen the number of people shopping in our stores, and I think it goes without saying that children need to be protected from people,” Abbott said.
But Menards, who also won’t allow pets except for service dogs inside, isn’t alone in barring children.
Two North Carolina towns – Wilkesboro and North Wilkesboro – are prohibiting children from accompanying parents into stores “if there is a person of suitable age available to supervise the child elsewhere” and say “only one individual per family” should shop, according to a news release.
A sign relaying additional restrictions for Menards on April 2. Stores across the county have implemented different policies to promote social distancing and halt the spread of COVID-19, but officials have said it may not be enough. (Photo: Corey Ohlenkamp/Star Press)
Taking your temperature
A growing number of retailers have started to take employees temperatures including Amazon, Walmart and Sam’s Club, BJ’s Wholesale Club and Home Depot.
Menards, which has locations in Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, and Wyoming, is now testing both shoppers and customers’ temperature at its Eau Claire, Wisconsin store.
“We started doing temperature checks at Eau Claire West Menards as customers and employees enter the store and we’ll start doing temperature checks in all of our stores as soon as we can get thermometers to them,” Abbott told KVRR Local News.
Menards did not immediately respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment Friday.
Small grocery store chains like City Farmers Market, which has six Georgia locations, have started to screen “for temperature using non-invasive thermal cameras at our entrances.”
Should masks be required in stores? Miami Beach says yes
On Friday, Surgeon General Jerome Adams detailed the new face covering recommendations at a White House briefing, acknowledging the evolving guidance has been “confusing to the American people.”
Adams stressed the new recommendation from the CDC and coronavirus task force pertained to non-medical, cloth face coverings and do not replace current social distancing guidance. The general public should not begin wearing medical-grade equipment, Adams said, as such measures should be reserved for the medical industry.
Officials have consistently recommended people showing symptoms of the virus should wear protective masks, Adams said. Now authorities are asking all people to wear cloth masks in public places like grocery stores and pharmacies.
The updated guidance is spurred by new science showing a significant number of people can spread the virus when they are not showing symptoms.
“This is about me protecting you and you protecting me. This is about us coming together as communities and if people voluntarily choose to wear a face covering, they’re wearing it to protect their neighbors,” Adams said.
In some cities — including Miami Beach, Florida and Hoboken, New Jersey — it’s not just a request.
Miami city manager Jimmy Morales signed a new emergency measure into law Friday night, the Miami Herald reported. The measure requires people to wear cloth masks, scarves, bandanas or other similar items to cover their faces at grocery stores, restaurants and pharmacies at the risk of being turned away from the businesses.
A Saturday release from the City of Hoboken said essential business employees and residents visiting those businesses were both required to wear face coverings.
Share your thoughts with USA TODAY
Should kids be allowed in stores during the coronavirus crisis? Should retailers starting taking shoppers’ temperature before allowing access? What about masks – should shoppers be required to wear them? Share your thoughts with USA TODAY for possible inclusion in our continuing COVID-19 coverage by filling out the form below or through this link.
Contributing: Joel Shannon, USA TODAY; Sophie Carson and Cathy Kozlowicz, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Follow USA TODAY reporter Kelly Tyko on Twitter: @KellyTyko
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