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Hurry up and wait: How different grocery stores are handling latest COVID spike

As COVID-19 continues to surge, supermarkets are carefully monitoring the number of shoppers who can enter at any one time.

ATLANTA — A surge in COVID-19 is putting supermarkets in the spotlight once again as stores tighten restrictions.

The chains are placing urgency not only on sanitizing stores but also on limiting the number of shoppers allowed in at any one time. 

Walmart is capping capacity at 20 percent with customers counted at the door. It’s also asking employees to do wellness checks and wear masks. 

Kroger is doing the same thing, capping capacity at 50 percent. 

And, at Whole Foods, employees are responsible for limiting entry. Employee wellness checks and masks are also required.

At Publix, capacity is limited only when local ordinances dictate and the chain said there are no Atlanta ordinances in place now to curtail the number of customers entering its stores.

At Trader Joe's, it’s a little bit different. Social distancing and masks are required but the chain is counting carts as they come into the stores. The limit is 45 at a time and, beyond that, shoppers have to wait to get inside.

So how are customers reacting to the stricter limits again?

“It is inconvenient, of course, when you want to shop and you can’t get into a store aa quickly as you'd like but generally, as a shopper, I do like it as I prefer not to be with the masses and to have my space and to take my time,” said Kate Bobb, a Trader Joe’s customer.

Anastasia Simon had a similar reaction.

“I do feel that the restrictions that are being put in place are necessary," she said. "I would side with the CDC. They make me feel comfortable. Whether or not it's mitigating the spread, it makes me feel more comfortable, to be honest.”

And with capacity limits in place, it is a good idea to call ahead before you head out to your favorite supermarket.