Retail workers say not enough social distancing in Utah

Apr 7, 2020, 8:29 PM
Kroger Thank You pay...
FILE -- (Shoppers outside of a remodeled Smith's Marketplace in June 2019. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Shoppers outside of a remodeled Smith's Marketplace in June 2019. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY – Supermarket chains like Smith’s and Costco are taking more measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in their stores, but some retail workers worry they might not be enough.  They say the number of people going to stores isn’t going down, and they don’t feel safe at work.

Recently, several people have sent emails to KSL describing what they see behind the counters at supermarket and pharmacy chains.  Their main complaints don’t focus so much on what the stores are doing during this pandemic, but how the customers are behaving.

One pharmacy employee wrote, “The store becomes flooded by large families, couponers, teens and children all in groups. No social distancing. People standing over the register counters invading the cashier’s space.

Another woman, who wants to stay anonymous to protect her husband’s job, says, “People are failing to social distance in the store.”

Even when she goes to the store, herself, she sees people standing too closely to other customers.  She claims people walk into her personal space all the time and she has to fight the urge to tell others to go away.  She says teens and young adults are especially bad at keeping their distance.

She adds, “Realize that these employees have families and they need to go home to them.”

The Employers Council President Ryan Nelson says employers have several things they’re required to provide for their workers.  They have to keep the workplace free from “obvious hazards,” and follow local and federal health guidelines.

“Some companies are just doing it better,” Nelson says.

Also, bosses have to create plans that comply with three specific requirements.

  • Reduce the transmission of the virus among employees
  • Maintain a healthy business operation
  • Maintain a healthy work environment

However, Nelson says this virus isn’t like other kinds of workplace safety issues.  If someone gets injured on the job, investigators can normally find out what exactly happened.  In this case, the problem is invisible and it’s almost impossible for someone to prove if they got sick at work or someplace else.

“If an employee has a concern, express it.  Talk to your employers and express your concern.  At the same time, recognize that we don’t have perfect information,” Nelson says.

No matter where someone contracts the virus, Nelson says they can get money for lost wages.

He says, “The Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides very specific benefits to an employee in those instances.  Basically, paid time away from work.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

quit their jobs...
PAUL WISEMAN AP Economics Writer

US added a strong 517,000 jobs in January despite Fed hikes

The Fed is aiming to achieve a "soft landing" — a pullback in the economy that is enough to tame high inflation without triggering recession.
22 hours ago
Multiple dollar bills are pictured, social security will see a bump...
Mark Jones

Eyeing retirement: How much money is enough after you leave a job?

How do you know when it's time to leave a job or if you'll have enough for retirement? Dave and Dujanovic talk to a financial planner about this important question.
2 days ago
interest rate...
Curt Gresseth

Interest rate ticks up. Time to tame your debt.

The chief financial analyst for joins the show to talk about the rising interest rate and how you can get out from under the debt you have accumulated.
2 days ago
The main reason small businesses fail in America is that the business owner doesn't have access to ...
Simone Seikaly

Lack of access stands between Black-owned businesses and success

But lack of access to money isn't the only thing that hinders Black-owned business in Utah and across the nation.
3 days ago
Mr. Murphy, a basset posing as a bee, leans in to get a sniff of 5-year-old Alex Schilling during t...
Elizabeth Weiler

Humane Society of Utah says shelters are full, adoptions are needed

The Humane Society of Utah says their shelters are filling up, especially with large breed dogs and puppies.
3 days ago
The Federal Reserve unanimously approved a quarter-point interest rate hike Wednesday, slowing the ...
Nicole Goodkind, CNN

Fed approves small rate hike, nodding to improved inflation outlook

The decision comes after months of large rate increases intended to cool the economy and marks a return to a more traditional interest-rate policy.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Retail workers say not enough social distancing in Utah