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Corpus Christi H-E-Bs urge social distancing in stores

Shoppers with empty grocery carts lined up outside the H-E-B store at 4320 Alameda at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 24, a sight usually seen only at 8 a.m. as stores prepare to open after a night of restocking. Courtesy Photo

A possible shelter-in-place order for Nueces County has not resulted in a renewed run on grocery stores, according to an H-E-B spokesperson. Lines have been growing outside the stores over the past few days — even in the middle of the day — as managers implement ways to stay in compliance with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to maintain 6 feet between customers. Another part of that order, issued March 19, is to limit the number of people in one place to 10. Grocery stores, however, are exempted.

“Each store, depending on size, will make the call on how many customers are allowed at a time to ensure we are staying within six feet of one another,” the spokesman said. “These practices will be in place until further notice.”

H-E-B employees also have been trained to sanitize and wipe down the handles and seats of grocery carts as they enter the store.

“Partners are given daily training and education on elevated sanitation protocols,” the spokesperson continued.

H-E-B has also assured its customers that it has plenty of stock, which is regularly replenished in its warehouses, to continue to feed a public increasingly nervous about food insecurity. Shoppers are asked not to panic buy or hoard so everyone can get what they need in a timely manner.

The company launched a Texans Helping Texans initiative for shoppers 60 and older. In partnership with Favor Delivery, seniors are able to order groceries online or by phone from a curated list of essential foods and supplies that are then delivered to their homes within a few hours.

“Together with Favor, H-E-B is committed to helping Texans get the products they need while slowing the spread of coronavirus in our communities,” said Martin Otto, H-E-B chief operating officer.

Orders may be placed over the phone from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., seven days a week. Call the Senior Support Line at 833-397-0080. Orders also can be placed on Favor’s website or by downloading the Favor app and searching for H-E-B.

“To further promote social distancing, Favor Runners will leave all orders placed through the Senior Support Line at the customer’s doorstep, eliminating close personal interaction,” said Jag Bath, Favor chief executive officer and H-E-B chief digital officer.

Delivery and service fees are waived for the first 30 days of the program, which began March 20. Phone orders began March 23. Orders include a $10 tip, which goes entirely to the person who selected and delivered the items.

The service is available in 240 locations, including Corpus Christi.

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