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White’s Foodliner follows guidelines for customer safety

Courtney Blankenship
Fresh flowers await St.John-area gardeners as COVID-19 awareness adds additional guidelines for store management and customers to follow while shopping at White's Foodliner in St. John.

White’s Foodliner grocery store has modified their store hours and made several other changes to keep the community safe and accommodate those who are most at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Joey Noland, store director of White’s Foodliner, said the store is reserving time from 7 to 9 a.m. so that people older than 65 and those with health issues can have space to shop without being around a lot of other customers; ID is not currently required.

Delivery and pick-up is also being offered from 9 AM to 5 PM, Monday through Saturday. Orders can be made by calling 620-377-5678.

People are not required to wear masks and gloves in the store at this time but that is subject to change in the future depending on how the situation evolves.

Noland said the store is following the guidelines set by the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and KDHE [Kansas Department of Health and Environment] in order to keep customers and employees safe.

“Whatever they’re recommending to us, we’re following,” Noland said. “As of right now, masks are just kind of recommended. We have not required employees to wear masks; We have not required customers to wear masks. It’s just kind of a recommendation as of right now, but that could change.”

Currently, Noland said, there is no limit to the number of people allowed in the store at one time, however, in the announcement released by White’s Foodliner, families are encouraged to abide by the ‘one person per family’ recommendation and be mindful of social distancing, though, they understand that some families may have to bring their children.

Among the changes made for safety, White’s Foodliner customers in St. John are being asked to not bring reusable bags to the store.

“That’s just a safety thing--that’s still in effect. We don’t know where those bags have been,” Noland said. “We don’t know, so, just to flatten the curve and to help keep the spread to a minimum, we just ask that they don’t bring in their reusable bags at this time just as a safety precaution.”

In addition to the other safety measures being implemented, Noland said that the store is disinfected and cleaned multiple times throughout each day.

“Every two hours, we’re going through and sanitizing door handles and the keypads and everything people touch,” Noland said.

Shortages in certain supplies have resulted in limits being imposed on products until store deliveries can catch up to the usual stock levels. The items being limited include things like toilet paper, cleaning products, beans, rice, and pasta.

As of last week, however, Noland said the store has started being able to refill more and more of those items.

Weekly ads and phone-app specials will also continue through the pandemic, Noland said, and every week there will be a ‘new deal of the week.’ Everything can be found on the Facebook page, app, and website.

Noland said it is important for people to shop locally and support small businesses, not only during this time of crisis but also once it ends.

“Just want to say thank you to all of our customers and to my employees, who have been braving this fight,” Noland said. “I appreciate everybody.”