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.”

Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

utah employment...
Alejandro Lucero

Annual Golden Key Awards presented to local businesses

Golden Key Awards recognize the people and businesses who believe in Utahns with disabilities, said a press release. Nine businesses were recognized today.
2 days ago
A group breaks ground on the Best Friends housing project in Kanab....
Britt Johnson

Best Friends Animal Society building housing for employees in Kanab

Best Friends Animal Society houses its headquarters and sanctuary in Kanab, Utah -- along with about half of its employees.
2 days ago
The Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City is pictured on Tuesday, May 24, 2022. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret N...
Lindsay Aerts

Silicon Summit announces statewide expansion

Silicon Summit will announce their plans for expansion. Starting next year, the two-day summit will be held over one week.
2 days ago
kia markups...
Peter Valdes-Dapena, CNN Business

Kia, once the ‘value’ brand, now has the biggest price markups

On average, Kia cars and SUVs are selling for about 6% over their sticker price, according to data from
3 days ago
intermountain healthcare...
Mark Jones

Name change coming to Intermountain Healthcare next year

In 2023, Intermountain Healthcare will change its name to Intermountain Health.
4 days ago
Inland Port Authority Plan...
Becky Bruce

The plan to build an inland port/commerce hub is on hold

The announcement comes about a week after a state audit suggested that the Utah Inland Port Authority needs a master plan.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
large group of friends tohether in a park having fun...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

What differentiates BYU’s MBA program from other MBA programs

Commitment to service is at the heart of BYU’s MBA program, which makes it stand out among other MBA programs across the country.
a worker with a drill in an orange helmet installs a door in the house...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

Home improvement tip: Increase the value of your home by weatherproofing doors

Make sure your home is comfortable before the winter! Seasonal maintenance keeps your home up to date. Read our tips on weatherproofing doors.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
A paper reading IRS, internal revenue service is pictured...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Retail workers say not enough social distancing in Utah