April 22, 2020

Three ways businesses are stepping up in big ways amid COVID-19 challenges


Thank you retail workers“Unprecedented.” It’s a term you’ve probably heard sprinkled across media coverage to describe the challenges created by COVID-19. But as uncertain as things are, there’s a small silver lining — businesses are stepping up to give back to employees and customers alike, giving back to others in remarkable ways. Dedicated retail teams have shown up each day or overnight, providing many of life’s essentials, like food, cleaning and paper products, medical supplies, hardware and fixtures, to keep homes and businesses functioning. We applaud the generosity and commitment of those continuing to show up every day for others. These are some of the innovative, admirable and unprecedented measures retailers have taken that have left us inspired.

1.They’re supporting employees and customers

Some retailers are responding to the crisis with generosity to their associates by providing bonuses, increased pay and additional personal and medical leave, along with adding new safety measures that are quickly becoming the standard in retail stores across the country.

Kroger, with more than 3,500 stores, has a long history of bringing help and hope to the communities they serve. The Cincinnati-based company is giving its 453,000 grocery, supply chain, manufacturing and customer service associates a one-time bonus. To help safeguard employees and the public, Kroger is also providing protective masks and gloves to employees, and like many other essential retailers, is taking additional, thorough cleaning measures and has adjusted store hours to give employees more time to stock shelves, rest and recover.

Weis Markets, Inc., a Pennsylvania-based retailer, is also giving employee bonuses, along with offering curbside pickups and home deliveries for groceries and prescriptions. Home Improvement company Lowe’s is actively hiring 30,000 positions in a move to keep operations at optimal levels and to assist workers laid off from closed or downsized businesses.

A now common trend seen across the U.S. is stores providing a dedicated hour for senior shoppers, expectant mothers, first responders and people with compromised immune systems. Additionally, member-only clubs, like BJ’s Wholesale Club, have opened their doors to first responders and frontline workers with or without a membership during their dedicated shopping hours.

The status quo for retail is quickly evolving to a new normal. These retailers are leading by example on the best ways to support employees and customers.

2. They’re creating personal protective equipment and supplies

Companies like Dior, Brooks Brothers and Eddie Bauer aren’t exactly known for creating protective masks, but that’s exactly what they’re doing amidst the pandemic. These companies, along with many others, are dedicating portions of their workforce to create masks and other protective gear for frontline healthcare workers who need it most.

Some companies, like Crocs, are offering free footwear to healthcare workers, while General Motors is working to create respiratory support products. Other companies like Walmart and Nike are giving financially and have donated millions of dollars toward COVID-19 relief funds. And we can’t forget to mention numerous grocers, like Meijer, Publix and Ahold Delhaize USA, going above and beyond to support their communities’ food pantries and charities with monetary donations and meals.

3. They’re keeping communities and workers fed

Pandemic or not, everyone still needs to eat. But getting food has proven challenging. Although catching up with demand, many grocery stores remain low on staples and long lines are a deterrent for the elderly and those who are working long hours. Children who relied on meal programs at school don’t have access to food. As a result, many restaurants have stepped up to ensure that healthcare workers, the elderly and children and don’t go hungry.

Chains like Just Salad and Chipotle have been delivering food to hospitals to make sure staff members are well-fed. Other restaurants, like D.C.-based Medium Rare and Loopy’s in Chippewah Falls, WI, are helping to feed the sick and the elderly. In Ohio, Panera Bread has teamed up with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Children’s Hunger Alliance to provide wholesome meals to kids.

Despite all of the challenges COVID-19 has created, seeing so many companies giving back to employees and communities is unifying and inspiring. For additional COVID-19 updates on the Brink’s U.S. operations, policies and procedures, visit the Update Center here.

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