Local businesses make changes to protect customers, employees during COVID-19 outbreak

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Businesses that are considered essential are finding ways to protect their employees and customers during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There’s nothing that could create panic faster than not having fuel available,” said OnCue President Laura Aufleger. 

Last week, gas stations like OnCue were named critical infrastructure and corporate leaders are taking steps to keep their customers and employees safe.

“Most stores have one person on every shift whose sole job is just to continually clean and sanitize. Gas pumps, every surface possible,” Aufleger said. “That has been a top priority for us, really increasing the cleaning.”

OnCues have removed the self-serve hot foods and drink refills for the time being, but shoppers can take advantage of the drive-thrus, and delivery options are now available at many locations.

They’ve also marked six-foot spaces between people waiting in line, and plexiglass shields are going into stores all over the state.

“Trying to do our part to keep everyone safe and to also stay open and operational so that we can be there to support our healthcare workers as they have to be able to get to work, and our first-responders, and truck delivery drivers who have to get medicine to pharmacies and food to grocery stores,” Aufleger said.

Grocery store Trader Joe’s has begun limiting how many people can be in the store shopping at a time. 

Cashiers are only bagging groceries with disposable bags (which have been made free in stores that were charging for them) to prevent crew members from handling shoppers’ reusable bags. Those can still be used but shoppers will be asked to pack them themselves.

Plexiglass shields are also being rolled out to Trader Joe’s stores around the country, but those are first going into areas hit hardest.

These are methods many stores around the state and country are normalizing in an effort to reduce infection rate at the businesses people need to get through day-to-day.

“Last week we were deemed critical essential workforce by the Department of Homeland Security,” Aufleger said, “and that is something we took very seriously.” 

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