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Grocery stores, local businesses adjusting to COVID-19 shelter-in-place order

Last week, Governor Tate Reeves signed a shelter-in-place order to try to limit the spread of COVID-19 and help flatten the curve as quickly as possible.

Part of that order involved essential businesses adhering to new social distancing mandates to help prevent large groups of customers coming into their stores at the same time.

Larson’s Cash Saver is currently not putting a limit on how many customers are in their store, but they have asked customers to self-limit who makes a trip to their local grocery store.

“Larson’s Cash Saver and the City of Oxford are asking for your participation in keeping our community safe. Please always shop with awareness and stay 6 feet apart,” a Facebook post made on April 4 on co-owner Brent Larson’s personal page read.

Larson posted a sign at Cash Saver’s entrance reiterating the store’s request, with a graphic of one person per buggy while in the store.

Sneed’s Ace Hardware is one local store that began implementing social-distancing protocols prior to Reeves’ executive order. They had placed tape down at the registers six feet apart to provide a guide for where customers should stand while waiting to checkout. On Saturday, the hardware store asked that customers limit how many people come into their store and encouraged them to come with a pre-made list to help them checkout as fast as possible.

National chains have also taken measures to limit the amount of people inside their store, including Walmart and Kroger. On Saturday, Walmart allowed five customers per 1,000 square feet, which equaled to approximately 20 percent of each store’s capacity. On Tuesday, Walmart announced they would begin opening two entrances to help keep lines from violating the social distancing guidelines.

On Tuesday, Kroger began limiting the number of customers to 50 percent of the international building code to allow for proper distancing between shoppers.

“Kroger’s introduction of customer capacity limits is one more way we are doing our part to flatten the curve while operating as an essential business, providing our customers with access to fresh, affordable food and products,” said Mary Ellen Adcock, Kroger’s senior vice president of operations. “During this national pandemic, we are committed to adopting preventive measures to help protect the safety and health of our associates, customers and communities.”

A number of local restaurants, which are considered essential and allowed to provide curbside, drive-thru and delivery service, have decided to close completely during the shelter-in-place order that runs through at least 8 a.m. on April 20.

The Blind Pig was one of those stores that announced they would close their doors for the next couple of weeks.

“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make, but it seems like the most responsible decision to make,” owner James Moore said in a statement posted to the Blind Pig’s Instagram account. “With my own personal health issues such as just surviving cancer a few months ago and the health concerns of my family, friends and employees, it seems like this is the most reasonable thing we can do.”

Moore noted that Blind Pig employees who feel they need to still work during this time will be moved to B’s BBQ on College Hill Road next to the Skymart while the restaurant is closed.

Uptown Coffee, located on the Downtown Square, is also another business that closed completely over the weekend until the COVID-19 crisis passes.