Hardware store employee raises concerns about social distancing, crowd sizes


LANSING, Mich. (WLNS)– It’s business at usual at a local Lowe’s store. For employees still working during the “stay home” emergency order, that’s a big problem.

Lowe’s employee Joe Luczak reached out to 6 News with concerns about crowd sizes at the home improvement store, which is deemed essential and allowed to stay open.

“50 percent of the people, when you come up and ask them things, what you can get them, and they say “No I’m just looking, I’m just here shopping because I’m bored at home.” And they’re just not taking this serious, the whole virus thing. They think it’s all a hoax.”

Luczak says the store has been busy with customers shopping for home projects, not just for emergencies. He’s worried about employees who have underlying health issues or vulnerable family members and have to work with the crowds.

“We have brought it up to store management, and I mean they’re putting up shields and, you know, giving us gloves and stuff,” Luczak says. “And they have the floors marked and stuff. But we’re still taking returns and stuff back, so I am not sure what’s the plan but we can never get a definite answer.”

As an employee, he wants to see the store step up by encouraging curbside pickup for orders. A spokesperson for Lowe’s issued a statement saying they’ve given customers the option to use mobile check out. They’re also offering paid emergency leave for any employees feeling sick.

For the next few weeks, Luczak wants customers considering their next big home project to stay home unless they need emergency supplies.

“I would say if you have a household emergency, that’s considered one thing. And we’re getting people coming in here, whole entire families. It only takes one person to come in and get what you need. And try to limit your shopping experience to maybe 10, 15 minutes and be out of the store.”

You can read the full statement from Lowe’s below:

“The health and well-being of our associates and customers is our top priority and we continue to take preventative measures at the guidance of the CDC to ensure the safety of our operations. All Lowe’s stores have signage encouraging social distancing measures as well as overhead announcements every 15 minutes to remind customers. We also have clear signs and floor markers to reinforce CDC social distancing guidelines. Customers also have the option to checkout via mobile point of sale.

Some additional operational measures include: enhancing daily cleaning efforts, increasing time spent cleaning and sanitizing stores, rescheduling non-essential services and installations, adding additional third-party cleaning and installing plexiglass shields at cash registers. For our associates, we are encouraging them to stay home if they are sick, offering 14 days paid emergency leave for all associates, with up to a month of paid leave for associates in vulnerable groups. We are also extending telemedicine benefits to all our associates and their families. 

Lowe’s remains in close contact with local government officials, and we continuously make additional changes to our operations as the situation evolves.”

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