Fort Lee commissary is testing curbside grocery pickup
By BILL ATKINSON | The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va. | Published: April 10, 2020
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FORT LEE, Va. (Tribune News Service) — The post's senior commander said Thursday that Fort Lee's commissary is piloting a program where seniors and other customers with health issues will be able to call ahead and have a volunteer shopper pick up their supplies and deliver them curbside.
Maj. Gen. Rodney D. Fogg also said that the installation's grocery store will reinstate a one-hour shopping period at the beginning of each business day for senior citizens, from 9-10 a.m. daily.
The curbside pickup program is part of Fort Lee's plan to limit the spread of coronavirus and maintain health safety for store employees and customers.
Earlier in the week, the Defense Department issued a mandate that anyone on post must wear a face mask if they cannot maintain proper social-distancing standards. This also applies to the commissary and the Post Exchange.
In a virtual town hall Thursday evening, Fogg said masks are required inside the commissary because of the way it is laid out. Aisles are narrower than in places like the PX, "and that prevents us from having the social distancing we need," the commander said.
This week, the commissary brought on board volunteers who can serve as personal shoppers for those eligible to enter the commissary but might be apprehensive about doing so. Fogg said the volunteers can be called ahead of time with the list, and by the time the customer arrives, their cart will be filled and ready for loading curbside. Payment can be taken curbside as well.
"You don't necessarily have to go into the commissary if you don't want," Fogg said.
The volunteer program is right now on a test basis, Fogg said, "but we hope to institute that regularly very soon."
Groups such as the Association of the United States Army are working to have face masks stocked at the commissary to avoid customers who might not have face protection on them from having to go back home and get it. Fort Lee said that would be especially helpful to customers who might have driven a couple of hours to go shopping.
As for the PX, Fogg said even though it is laid out better for social distance, limits may be placed in the future on the maximum capacity of customers inside at one time.
In other virus-related restrictions announced Thursday, Fort Lee will no longer allow taxi service on post. Originally, eight cab companies had been authorized for on-post fares, but Fogg said that has now been changed.
Additionally, no timetable has been set for reopening of Fort Lee's child-development centers. Fogg said he understands the hardship those closures place on some families, and he added that the CDCs eventually will be back in business.
"'When' is still a question mark," Fogg noted.
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