Coronavirus pandemic: Bay Area grocery store workers fear for their safety

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- When most of us go to the grocery store during the novel coronavirus pandemic, our own personal safety is usually the number one concern... but what about the employees?

Several Safeway employees are asking that you keep them in mind as well when it comes to social distancing and getting angry.

"We're doing the best we can. It's not our fault we don't have produce and dairy and meat right now," says Safeway employee Sarah McCroskey. She works at a store in the South Bay and is begging shoppers to be patient and stay home unless you really need something.

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"I understand people have cabin fever, they want to get out, but they are going shopping just to get cookies and ice cream and spend a good amount of time in the store when it's not necessary."

On Monday, McCroskey and her team took a group photo with everyone socially distancing. All of the employees were holding signs that say things like "stay home, we're in this together, and social distancing can be beautiful." McCroskey says she's not the only one with safety concerns.

Brandon Lewis works at a different store. His thoughts echo those of McCroskey, "I'm working the check stand and me and others don't get the respect that we deserve," says Lewis.

In an email, Safeway representatives tell us they have supplied all store associates with masks but McCroskey says they don't have filters in them. The store she works at lacks hand sanitizer as well.

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Those at Safeway say they have dedicated some of their associates to cleaning and have limited store occupancy. Safeway has also added Plexiglas sneeze guards and one-way aisles but McCroskey says customers still do their own thing and -- above all else -- many aren't socially distancing.

"These aren't just coworkers, these are my family and I'm very protective of my family and there's no way for me to protect them and we're at risk everyday. Give us a break, it's not our fault... we're really trying."

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