Over the last week, Musgrave’s network of over 200 SuperValu, Centra and MACE stores across Northern Ireland and Musgrave MarketPlace branches in Belfast, Lurgan and Derry~Londonderry have experienced unprecedented surges in demand due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
As warehouse staff, delivery drivers and retail staff across Northern Ireland go above and beyond to keep shelves stocked with fresh food and essentials, a range of new social distancing measures are being implemented to safeguard customers and staff in SuperValu, Centra and MACE stores and Musgrave MarketPlace branches.
Michael McCormack, Managing Director of Musgrave in Northern Ireland explains: “Our customers will begin to notice a number of changes that we are introducing as part of our social distancing and preventative measures. We want to ensure that everyone is familiar with these changes and would ask that people have patience, as we all become accustomed to this new way of shopping – everything we are doing is for the health of our staff and customers.
“When entering stores, customers will see reminders about social distancing at the entrance, along with hand sanitisers and we will have staff to manage the number of people going in-store. There will be limitations on the number of customers allowed in store at any one time, depending on the store size. We would ask people to bear with us and respect the directions given in-store.
“Once in-store, we would ask everyone to respect each other’s space and avoid contact with other customers by observing a social distance of two metres. At checkouts, customers may notice tape on the floor, or signs showing them how far to stay apart from each other in the queue. Where possible, we are asking customers to use contactless payments or mobile phone payments for larger purchases; and to observe any directions given in-store over the tannoy, or as directed by signage.”
Protective screens are being rolled out across the network this week. Stores are also working hard to provide additional support to elderly and less able customers, who are being prioritised, as Michael explains:
“Many of our stores have tailored solutions in place that best suit their customers, whether it’s dedicated staff to help these groups with their shopping in-store, dedicated times allocated to them, or the ability to phone in their order in advance and simply collect it or have it delivered. We would ask people with any concerns to call ahead for guidance or check the store’s social media channels. We would remind the wider public to buy only what they need to make sure that others do not have to go without.”
Musgrave has also been working closely with the NI Executive as well as the retail and food industry bodies to ensure its stores can continue to meet the demand and ensure that families across Northern Ireland can put food on the table every day.
Michael McCormack said: “I would like to publicly thank our team of retailers, staff in stores, drivers, warehouse staff and suppliers for what can only be described as their herculean efforts to ensure our shelves are replenished every day. At this time of crisis, our teams are going above and beyond and doing a fantastic job.”