Coronavirus US: Grocery store workers push to close supermarkets to customers claiming 'atrocious' behavior by shoppers

There is a new push to keep shoppers from going into grocery stores, as thousands of workers get sick with coronavirus.

Fed up and fired up, frontline workers are speaking out about the conditions they're facing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Our lives are worth more than just one paycheck, and we need to take this seriously," said Adam Ryan, leader of "Target Workers Unite."

Target Workers Unite, an independent group of Target employees, are now calling for a mass sick-out to protest what they call "atrocious" behavior by shoppers, saying shoppers "do not respect our space" and "are occupying our stores out of boredom and for fun."

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"It's not okay that we have to, you know, have the elevated risk of exposure just because people want to go out and shop around casually," Ryan said.

At least 3,000 grocery store workers are now showing coronavirus symptoms and more than two dozen have died from COVID-19, raising new questions about how to keep these essential workers safe.

"This past weekend probably 60% of the customers in the stores that I was in, didn't have masks on and in fact weren't necessarily paying attention to the social distancing, the 6 feet," said Marc Perrone, international president of United Food & Commercial Workers International Union.

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Even with masks, one way aisles, limited hours, and plastic shields- the union representing grocery store workers says 85% of its members report customers are not social distancing , so now they're asking law enforcement to step in.
"There needs to be law enforcement and or security in the stores that would enforce people to do what they're supposed to do," Perrone said.

Some stores are already going so far as to switch to curbside pickup only.

"You show up, someone's stationed out there in the parking lot, you give your name and order number someone from our warehouse in the back comes and gets it and brings it out, we have a contactless pickup with a table that we just leave it on," said Mike Houston, the general manager at Takoma Park Silver Spring Co-Op.

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A Whole Foods in Manhattan became the first in the nation to close its doors to customers and focus entirely on online delivery orders.

The move comes as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo proposed hazard pay for those on the front lines, 41% of them people of color and two-thirds are women

"All of those essential workers, who have had to get up every morning to put food on the shelves, I would say hazard pay, give them a 50% bonus. And I would do that now," Cuomo said.
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