Safeway Social Distancing

Safeway has neon orange tape on their sidewalks to promote social distancing while shopping Monday in Ellensburg.

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Shopping has already been changed by the COVID-19 outbreak with certain items quickly disappearing off store shelves, but with the stay-at-home order by Kittitas County and the state of Washington, shoppers are being asked to explore online grocery purchasing if possible.

Dr. Mark Larson with the Kittitas County Health Department said, during a press conference Monday afternoon announcing the stay-at-home order, that the county understands that people will still need to get groceries. The county is requiring that people do not go out if they do not have to.

“Right now, we need to take care of ourselves and our neighbors, conserve resources and be ready for changes as they happen,” Dr. Larson said.

Many large grocery stores offer delivery, which can be accessed through their websites. However, as with shopping in person, it is possible that necessary items are sold out. Stores across the globe are seeing empty shelves as a result of the outbreak. Safeway’s delivery website currently displays this notice:

“Thank you for your patience. Our stores are working very hard right now to maintain in-stock conditions of your favorite items and necessities. When you place an online order, we’ll attempt to fulfill it completely with your selected products or acceptable substitutions. Out of stocks may occur based on product availability, and you will not be charged for any missing items. We apologize for any inconvenience.”

To order online at Safeway and Fred Meyer, you need to create an account. This means inputting your email and creating a password. Then, you select the items that you want to purchase. When finished selecting items, click done or finished. Fred Meyer and Safeway both currently have fees for delivery. There is also the option of online ordering for pickup. This works similar to delivery, but you will need to go to the store’s location to pick up your groceries.

Now that this county-wide order is in place, it is important that people only go out when absolutely necessary.

In Ellensburg, stores such as Fred Meyer and Safeway have limited the items a single person can buy. Employees at Safeway say that this has not slowed down how fast supplies are sold out, but it does help distribute it. Fred Meyer employees said the protocol has helped slow down the rate in which supplies are sold out, but not by much.

Supplies that are being hit by the panic shopping include items such as soap and hand sanitizer. There is also a large demand for paper towels and toilet paper.

Face masks are sold out nearly everywhere.

Certain food items also are in high demand, including noodles, rice and canned beans, and food that can be frozen, such as meats and breads. Pet food also is sold out in many places.

Kasey Knutson, with Kittitas County Public Health Department, said people should remain isolated at home if possible. When people do have to go out for shopping or for work, make sure it’s absolutely necessary.

When in public, remember to social distance yourself from others. This means remaining six feet away whenever possible. If this is not possible, don’t stay close to someone for more than a couple of minutes.

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