Lowe’s Companies is doubling down on its in-store social distancing measures during the COVID-19 crisis. It’s also raising the pay of hourly workers and giving them access to gloves and masks.
The home improvement giant said it has developed an app, available on employees’ handheld devices, to implement a new customer limit protocol. Each store manager can now monitor foot traffic and limit entrance based on CDC and local guidelines, Lowe’s said.
In addition, the retailer is adding dedicated employees, billed as “social distancing ambassadors,” who will be responsible for monitoring customer flow in Lowe’s garden centers and front-end areas and enforcing customer limits to allow proper social distancing.
Lowe’s also has made major changes to its floor layout to further support the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing and to make it easier for employees and customers to get the items they need quickly and safely.
As part of the changes, Lowe’s has:
• Removed product from the main aisle to help maintain safe distance;
• Removed racking and tables in other aisles to open up space;
• Expanded the area for customers leveraging its Buy Online, Pick Up In Store option or making a return; and
• Added floor markers spaced 6-feet apart to help guide customers;
• Installed customized Plexiglass shields at all points of sale to protect cashiers and customer service associates working the return desk.
• Lowe’s also has increased third-party cleaning shifts to provide incremental cleaning in its stores, beyond already enhanced daily cleaning efforts.
The new measures follow other operational changes that have already been implemented, including the addition of overhead announcements, store signage, and customer and associate guidelines that emphasize the importance of social distancing.
Lowe’s is temporarily increasing wages by $2 an hour for every full-time, part-time and seasonal hourly store, contact center and supply chain associates for hours they work throughout the month of April in the U.S. and Canada. It’s also making masks and gloves available to all frontline associates “who want them.”
“As previously shared, all N95 medical masks were placed on a stop sale and are being donated to hospitals to protect frontline healthcare workers, along with other personal protective equipment for first responders in our communities,” the company stated.
Lowe’s previously announced $80 million in special payments to hourly associates (paid on March 31). The payment amount was $300 for full-time associates and $150 for part-time and seasonal associates.
It’s also offering 14-days of emergency paid leave for all associates who need it, whether it is because they are feeling sick, caring for a loved one, or because they have been faced with new hardships such as closed schools and daycares. And it has extended emergency paid leave up to a total of four weeks for those at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19. It’s also extended telemedicine benefit through Teladoc to all associates and their families whether they are seasonal, temporary, part-time or full-time, regardless if they are enrolled in Lowe’s medical plan.