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Auburn-area supermarket employees get OK to wear protective equipment due to COVID-19
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Auburn-area supermarket employees get OK to wear protective equipment due to COVID-19

Large and small supermarkets in Cayuga County are allowing employees to wear masks and other personal protective equipment during the coronavirus outbreak. 

Aldi, which has a store in Aurelius, is the latest supermarket chain to announce that employees may wear personal protective equipment. The company said Thursday that disposable gloves are being sent to stores and masks, "as supplies permit," will be shipped beginning next week. 

Protective barriers will be installed at checkout lanes in Aldi stores and social distancing signs have been posted to remind customers to remain at least 6 feet away from others. 

Aldi is also increasing its cart cleaning procedures and discontinuing cart-to-cart transfers. Usually, a clerk will scan a customer's items and place them in another cart. Now, the customer's cart that they get when they enter the store will be used at checkout. 

LIST: Cayuga County-area grocery store hours, limits and more during COVID-19

Wegmans provided an update on its response, which includes the installation of plexiglass shields at registers and pharmacies. The shields will be installed over the next several weeks, according to a news release.

Employees at Wegmans stores, which includes the Auburn location, will be allowed to wear a mask and social distancing markers are posted to minimize contact between customers. 

Wegmans has already increased the cleaning of stores and distribution centers. There are more hand sanitizer stations throughout the stores. Cashiers are also advised to clean and sanitize conveyor belts and cash registers. 

Tops, a chain with stores in Auburn, Elbridge and Skaneateles, will be installing plexiglass shields on "as many of their front end registers as possible." If the barriers can't be installed, employees will be given protective face shields. 

The face shields will be worn by employees at customer service desks and in the pharmacy departments. 

Tops is providing gloves to employees and has hand sanitizer and wipes available for customers and employees. Social distancing policies have been implemented at checkout lanes and at least one employee in each store has been assigned to sanitize registers, conveyor belts, check stands, customer service desks, point-of-sale devices and other "frequently touched surfaces." 

LIST: Cayuga County-area takeout, delivery, outdoor options during COVID-19

The large chains aren't the only supermarkets adopting policies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. 

At the Union Springs Shurfine Supermarket, employees are wearing masks. The cash registers and conveyor belts are sanitized between customers, according to Nicole Murray-Casbohm, the store manager. 

"We rather be safe than sorry," she said. 

Politics reporter Robert Harding can be reached at (315) 282-2220 or Follow him on Twitter @robertharding.

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Online producer and politics reporter

I have been The Citizen's online producer and politics reporter since December 2009. I'm the author of the Eye on NY blog and write the weekly Eye on NY column that appears every Sunday in the print edition of The Citizen and online at

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