DOJ: Safeway to pay $3M over lax controls at pharmacies

SEATTLE, WA — March 20, 2020 – Safeway and Albertsons stores throughout Washington State are taking extra measures to protect employees and customers during the COVID-19 crisis, including installing temporary checkstand partitions, increasing closure hours for deep cleaning, increasing senior hours, and reminding customers of safety protocol in stores as well as delivery options. 

Installing plexiglass partitions in checkout lanes provides a protective barrier between customers and checkers.  The 30x30 inch plexiglass “sneeze guards” will be installed in all stores in Washington in the next week.

“During the grocery checkout process we recognize that it is difficult to maintain the recommended space for social distancing, so we wanted to take this extra step, to not only protect our associates who are constant contact with the public, but also provide our customers with extra reassurance as well,” said Karl Schroeder, president of Safeway Albertsons Seattle Division.

In addition to the installation of plexiglass shields at checkstands, Albertsons and Safeway stores:

      • Continue to follow a significantly enhanced cleaning and disinfection schedule throughout each day, and checkers are sanitizing their hands between each transaction. 
      • The stores hours of operation will change to 6am – 10pm, thereby allowing 8 hours for deep cleaning each night;
      • Checkers also have the option to decline a customer’s reusable bags and provide them with paper or reusable plastic bags at no charge. 
      •  Associates are being asked to following all CDC guidelines including regular handwashing and utilize their sick leave to stay home if they feel ill in any way.  In addition, any employee who falls within an “at risk” category, or lives with a family member who does, can utilize sick leave.  Lastly, any employee who has been positively diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, or has been directed to self-quarantine due to exposure to the virus, will be paid during their two week quarantine without requiring them to use their own benefits. 
      • Stores have expanded their hours designated for “vulnerable neighbors” (elderly, pregnant women and immunocompromised) each Tuesday and Thursday to start one hour earlier, 6am – 9am (Pharmacies will be open 7am-9am).

Safeway and Albertsons are also greatly appreciative of customers who practice safety measures while in the stores: wiping carts with sanitation wipes, entering the store with freshly washed hands, and keeping the appropriate social distance from other customers and employees whenever possible.  In addition, for customers who are ill or self-quarantined, there are options for delivery on and  If the local delivery store has significant fulfillment delays, Instacart also delivers from Safeway and Albertsons stores, and they continue to offer “Rush Delivery” services.  

Lastly, Safeway and Albertsons will waive delivery fees for same-day and next-day deliveries of pharmacy prescriptions ordered through ScriptDrop, as well as for mail deliveries until May 1, 2020 to help customers have convenient access to their medications.


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