Safeway, King Soopers stores limit number of simultaneous customers due to coronavirus



Safeway and Albertsons stores are installing Plexiglas guards at checkout counters to protect against the spread of the coronavirus. Fort Collins Coloradoan

Safeway and King Soopers stores in Colorado will begin limiting the number of customers who can be in the store at one time.

At Safeway, capacity will be limited to 30%. The policy is one of several steps the grocery chain is taking to increase safety measures in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a news release.

The company will also provide masks to employees, restrict movement in aisles to one direction only and designate an additional shopping time for seniors and the immunocompromised.

The rules apply to all Safeway and Alberstons stores in Colorado, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska and New Mexico and will be in place by the end of this week.

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Shopping hours for senior citizens and other at-risk populations are 7 to 9 a.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. “We ask that all customers who are not categorized as ‘vulnerable’ please respect these hours. The success of the dedicated hours is dependent on the consideration and compassion of their community.”

A few weeks ago the company installed plexiglass partitions on checkout lanes. The company says it diligently follows Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for hand-washing and cleaning, and is offering cart wipes and hand sanitizer stations.

Safeway also offers “contact free” delivery and “Drive Up & Go” services as well as free same-day and next-day delivery of prescriptions.

King Soopers stores take similar actions

King Soopers announced it would be limiting the number of customers in its stores to 50% of each store’s capacity, effective immediately.

According to a press release, that limit will mean one person per 120 square feet, based on a standard grocery store capacity of one person per 60 square feet. 

The company said it will use its existing QueVision technology, which uses infrared sensors and predictive analytics, to monitor how many customers are in a store at a time and whether that store has reached the new capacity limits. Associates will manage queues outside the building when the store reaches capacity. 

Senior shopping hours are 7-8 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Those hours reserved for customers age 60 and older. 

In addition to limiting the number of customers in each store, King Soopers is encouraging its employees to wear protective masks and gloves, and said it has ordered masks for associates nationwide. All stores should have a supply of masks by the end of the week, the company said.

Like Safeway, King Soopers is adding plexiglass partitions at checkout lanes as well as pharmacy counters and Starbucks registers, according to the store’s email.

The chain has also asked employees to “monitor their health and take their temperature at home prior to coming to work,” according to a press release. Those self-isolating with symptoms verified by a health care professional will be eligible for up to two weeks of paid leave.

Rebecca Powell and Sarah Kyle are content coaches at the Coloradoan. If you know of an impactful story you believe needs to be reported, send it to or

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