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As grocery stores across the country continue to be roiled by panicked shoppers worried about the new coronavirus outbreak, Redner’s Warehouse Markets announced this week that it will give employees a raise.
After discussions about how many hours employees were putting in to respond to the skyrocketing demand for essential items, Eric B. White, director of marketing, said Redners decided it was “the least we could do.”
“Our store associates, our warehouse (workers), our drivers, everyone that’s on the front lines has stepped up and worked really really hard to keep things on the shelves and keep things stocked,” White said.
All hourly grocery store employers, warehouse workers and truck drivers will get a $1 raise in their hourly wage, retroactively starting from Sunday, March 15, White said. Salaried employees at those locations will also get a corresponding raise, White said.
The pay increase will remain in effect as long as they are responding to increased demand because of the COVID-19 outbreak, White said.
‘All hands on deck’
All of Redner’s roughly 4,500 employees have been helping out where it’s been needed in recent days, White said.
While at a store Thursday, White said he noticed some empty shelves and longer lines but didn’t see much panic in the customers or employees.
Redner’s is encouraging customers to not buy large quantities of any items, like toilet paper, which has been hard to find at stores across the region.
“We can’t keep up with the demand right now,” White said. “We have all hands on deck.”
Getting product to the stores has been slightly more difficult than normal, White said, but keeping product on the shelves has been nearly impossible. With no way to know when life will return to normal, White said they are already making purchasing plans for the future.
“As long as people can work and bake bread and milk cows and produce food, the product production will remain there,” White said. “We just need to be forthright in looking ahead.”
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