LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Gelson’s Markets has suspended the use of reusable shopping bags to help slow the spread of COVID-19.

Beginning Saturday, March 28, the markets will not allow reusable bags, President and CEO Rob McDougall said in a letter.

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“While we understand the concerns of customers worried about the impact of plastic on the environment, the health and safety of our employees, as well as our customers, is our primary concern,” he said. “We look forward to a day when we can safely allow reusable bags to be used in our stores.”

The store also said that consistent with CDC recommendations, they won’t ask employees to wear masks if they are healthy but allow employees who choose to wear face masks to do so.

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McDougall announced the stores will also take these actions to protect employees and customers:

  • Installation of clear protection screens at our registers. By Monday morning, checkouts will all have a clear divider to help provide protection to employees and customers.
  • Elimination of merchandise returns.
  • Monitoring and limiting access to reduce the number of customers in the store.
  • Specific shopping hours for seniors 65+ shopping hours from 7 to 8 a.m.

The markets have also increased hourly wage rates for employees and employee discounts as well as offered free lunches a few times per week.

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Employees are also provided paid leave as needed.