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What the UFCW is asking the CDC to do in response to the coronavirus

April 9, 2020 Updated: September 9, 2020

Surgical Mask/ Flu Mask

During the coronavirus outbreak, employers, reporters, customers and community groups have been turning to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for guidance on what the government recommended actions are to curb the spread of COVID-19. Yesterday, the UFCW sent a letter to the CDC with our recommendations for safety measures that should be taken in grocery stores, pharmacies, and food packing and processing facilities.

This guidance is based on both the advice of health and safety experts as well as needs we have heard echoed from hard working UFCW members across the country who desperately need better protections in place in order to continue to serve the American public.

“It is absolutely critical that the CDC do more to help protect frontline workers who are at daily risk of  becoming infected and even dying from the Coronavirus,” said UFCW International President Marc Perrone. “This is about not just saving the lives of these workers, but also about protecting the customers they serve. It is about protecting and maintaining the safety of our food supply. Keeping these workers safe will help keep America safe. The CDC must act now to issue strong new safety guidance. American lives are on the line. These workers’ lives are on the line. We cannot wait any longer.”

If you are a UFCW member and you are experiencing problems where you work because of COVID-19, please submit a report to us so we can continue to track what is happening across the country.


Grocery Stores and Pharmacies

In-Store Social Distancing

  • Limit the number of consumers in a store at any given time to 20 to 30 percent of the store’s capacity.
  • Implement procedures to ensure that both employees and customers always remain at least six feet apart.
  • Procedures should include a marked “social distancing line” which begins six feet away from all checkout counters.

Improve Disinfecting, Sanitizing & Hygiene Practices

  • Employees must be provided with sufficient break times to wash their hands as necessary or, at a minimum, every 30 minutes.
  • Sanitize frequent touchpoints, including point of sale terminals at registers throughout the day.
  • Provide disinfecting wipes for customers to disinfect carts, as well as at cash registers.
  • Designate employee(s) to ensure cleaning guidelines set by the CDC are followed.
  • Provide set time to allow for stores to be properly sanitized and re-stocked.

Mandate Wearing of Personal Protective Equipment

  • Mandate that all workers wear masks, gloves, and any other personal protective equipment (PPE) available at the workplace.
  • Mandate all employers to provide N95 masks, gloves, and other PPE when it becomes available.

Urge Americans to Help Save Lives by Shopping Smart

Call on all Americans to practice the following each time they visit a grocery store or pharmacy:

    • Always wear a cloth face cover, ideally a mask, when inside the store.
    • Limit number of shoppers to one per family
    • Practice social distancing throughout the store – not just at check-out stands.
    • Properly discard their own PPE in trash cans.
    • Respect special shopping times for seniors.

Food Processing and Packing Plants

Improve Safety Conditions

  • Mandate that all employers provide PPE, and that workers wear PPE during the workday.
  • Ensure social distancing practices are implemented across the workplace at all times where possible.
  • When social distancing is not possible, PPE must be provided and used by all employees. No exceptions.
  • Make sure that safety practices are clearly posted throughout facility and are in the necessary languages for employees to read.
  • Provide PPEs for workers, including face masks.

Learn more at

UFCW & COVID 19