The parent company of Bi-Lo supermarkets said Friday it will initiate new safety measures and close on Easter Sunday to allow workers time off amid the ongoing pandemic.
Jacksonville-based Southeastern Grocers will close all Bi-Lo stores and other supermarkets it operates under different brands April 12, and it will now begin taking employees' temperatures when they report to work.
Workers at all stores, including nine in the Charleston region, now are allowed to wear masks and gloves, which the company will provide while supplies last.
The grocer also will continue to provide front-line employees with weekly bonuses and is hiring more than 5,000 temporary workers who have experienced restricted working hours or a job loss during the health crisis.
Bi-Lo also will limit the number of customers at peak hours and is installing sneeze-guard shields at registers and pharmacies. The company did not say how many customers would be allowed at peak shopping times.
All stores will continue to offer touch-free payment options and will operate with modified hours as well as continue to offer early shopping hours for older customers and extended evening shopping hours for first responders and healthcare providers.
"The decision to close on Easter Sunday was made to allow our heroic associates a day to rest and find comfort with their families," said Anthony Hucker, president and CEO of Southeastern Grocers.
"We are grateful for the kindness many of our customers have shown our associates," Hucker said. "Now more than ever, we need to promote kindness to all of those who are on the front line striving to make our communities safer and stronger. Together, we will support our neighbors, and continue to provide the safest possible shopping environment for our customers."
The company also operates Winn-Dixie, Harveys and Fresco y Mas grocery stores. None is in the Charleston area.
Southeastern Grocers operates 83 Bi-Lo supermarkets in South Carolina and one Harveys grocery store.