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Hy-Vee and Walmart taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Grocery stores in Mid-Missouri are making changes to their day-to-day operations as COVID-19 cases continue to grow in Missouri.

Tina Potthoff, the Senior Vice President of Communications for Hy-Vee, said the grocery store chain is doing a few things to stay ahead of the Coronavirus, including asking employees to stay home if they're feeling sick or have a cough.

Hy-Vee employees are wiping down all carts with disinfectant wipes, salad and olive bars have been closed along with any other self serve options, Potthoff said.

Potthoff said employees are pre-packaging everything.

Recently many grocery store posts have gained attention on social media for their empty shelves in the bath tissue and sanitizer aisles. Potthoff says they have supplies coming in at a normal rate but the demand for those items is extremely high right now.

One shopper we spoke with said while he is at Hy-Vee to pick up some over the counter drugs, he's staying calm.

"It's kind of like the zombie apocalypse without the zombies, no but it's just a little crazy," said Hank Stelzer, a Columbia resident. "I'm in here to pick up some drugs for you know over the counter type stuff just in case we get sick just to relieve the common cold."

Stelzer said he has seen the posts about the empty toilet paper shelves but he said he doesn't get it.

"Toilet paper would be one of the last things maybe I'd have on my list for stocking up but nah just be calm," Stelzer said.

Representatives from Schnucks and Walmart are also making similar adjustments.

Walmart released a statement on Thursday night where they announced a change in operating hours beginning Sunday, March 15.

According to the release, Walmart stores and Neighborhood Markets will be open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. until further notice to will help ensure associates are able to stock the products our customers are looking for and to perform cleaning and sanitizing.

Stores already operating under reduced hours will keep their current hours of operation.

"We're just taking it nice and easy, washing our hands keeping a distance and making sure we cough into our sleeves," Stelzer said.

For up-to-date information on COVID-19, you can visit cdc.gov.

Zach Boetto

Zach Boetto started working with ABC 17 News in June after graduating from California State University-Channel Islands with a degree in organizational communication. He reports weekday evenings and weekend mornings.

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