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Retailers respond to COVID-19: H-E-B


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Editor’s note: This is part of a series of articles on how retailers are responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

At H-E-B, the top priority is taking care of Texas. While the emergence of COVID-19 is an evolving situation, with many unknowns, we are sure of one thing: H-E-B will do its part to help our fellow Texans. In any situation that we and our communities might face, H-E-B is prepared to support its partners, customers and ­communities.

Texans helping Texans

H-E-B has launched Texans Helping Texans, a community-outreach initiative that’s guided by digital innovation, compassionate philanthropy and the generous spirit and strength that brings together all Texans during uncertain times.

H-E-B Otto

Martin Otto

H-E-B, in partnership with Favor Delivery, launched a simple, low-cost solution that gives seniors access to their very own personal shopper, by phone or online, allowing them to get essential food and supplies delivered while they remain in the comfort and safety of their home.

In those areas where the delivery service is not yet available, we are working directly with local nonprofits to provide support to our most vulnerable neighbors: seniors, children and low-income families.

Along with providing innovative solutions to help those in need, H-E-B is dedicated to the communities it serves. The company recently made a $3 million donation to support Texas nonprofits providing aid to vulnerable communities as well as organizations conducting groundbreaking coronavirus research.

Additionally, we have delivered nearly 40 truckloads of food and household supplies to Texas food banks, and have donated more than $500,000 to organizations dedicated to mobilized home feeding services, such as Meals on Wheels, which has provided thousands of meals to seniors and low-income families.

H-E-B has also introduced the Texans Helping Texans checkstand donation campaign in all stores, giving customers the opportunity to support organizations providing essential services, including United Way, Meals on Wheels and Feeding Texas.

Our partners

H-E-B is a people company, and our partners are at the heart of our business. We are dedicated to taking the best care of our partners and their families so they can take care of customers and communities.

For all hourly store, manufacturing, warehouse and transportation partners, H-E-B is providing $2-an-hour Texas Proud Pay to recognize their hard work and thank them for their commitment. Medical leave has been extended to all partners, and partners diagnosed with COVID-19 will receive pay.

To support customers and those Texans displaced from work due to coronavirus, we continue to hire short-term support for our stores and warehouse facilities. H-E-B has received more than 75,000 applications for short-term and full-time opportunities and is actively filling positions.

Social distancing, sanitation

H-E-B is taking extreme measures to heighten the frequency and awareness of sanitation and hygiene in our stores and has implemented strong social distancing procedures across the business to include stores and warehousing facilities. H-E-B has eliminated physical contact touchpoints across the company, and regularly reminds partners and customers to follow proper social distancing guidelines.

As part of our robust coronavirus action plan, we have installed dedicated teams of partners and COVID Action Managers in each store and warehouse facility, with each member trained to ensure that sanitation and social distancing programs are properly followed.

These efforts include crowd-control guidelines to manage customer traffic in stores; floor decals that help shoppers maintain proper social distance; checkstand plexiglass partitions to create a buffer between service partners and customers; and doorstep delivery to limit direct interactions.

Building on these social distancing practices, H-E-B is offering free same-day pharmacy delivery and directing customers to our pharmacy drive-through locations.

H-E-B partners are going above and beyond to wash and sanitize their hands as often as possible. Throughout the day, stores are deep cleaned, and partners thoroughly sanitize shopping cart handles and seats as well as hard surfaces in the store and fuel stations.

Across our business, H-E-B continues to adapt and innovate to provide the products our customers need and create a safer shopping experience. Whether it’s in our stores or in the more than 300 communities we serve, H-E-B is ready and here for all Texans, and working hard to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Martin Otto is chief operating officer of H-E-B.