Bradley Lowes, Menards take on COVID-19 struggles of their own

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By Rob Fischer

Cheryl Hase made a quick visit to the Lowe’s Home Improvement store in Bradley, and couldn’t believe how many people were making “essential” shopping trips.

“I feel bad for the employees, every time someone walks in the door there, their health is in jeopardy”, she said. “It’s mindless”.

“My nephew works at (a Lowe’s store) near the Lowe’s corporate headquarters, and says it’s like Black Friday in there, too”, she said of the larger than expected crowds that have been in the store during the stay-in-place orders, created to curb the spread of Covid-19.

“Families, little babies, it’s such a health risk. People are gonna die because of this and there’s no reason for it. They need to monitor how many people are going into the store”, she said.

While Lowe’s sells items needed for home vital home repair, such as plumbing and electrical materials, as well as essential appliances, the store also sells items that would be considered expendable during a pandemic, such as designer countertops, outdoor patio furniture, and such.

Hase believes that many of the families shopping at Lowe’s were simply bored, and taking advantage of the fact that many parents and students are home from work and school during the stay-at-home orders implemented by state and federal officials.

A spokesperson for Lowe’s, Pedro Chen, told the Country Herald, “The health and well-being of our associates and customers is our top priority, and we continue to take preventative measures per CDC guidelines to ensure the safety of our operations”, said Chen.

When asked by the Herald what, if anything, Lowe’s was doing to discourage extensive browsing by customers, Chen added that, “all Lowe’s stores have signage encouraging social distancing measures, as well as overhead announcements every 15 minutes to remind customers”. He also added that the stores display clear signs and floor markers to reinforce CDC social distancing guidelines. “Customers also have the option to checkout via mobile point of sale”, Chen added.

In addition, Lowe’s website details additional monetary benefits that have been made available to their employees, and outlines other support methods for them as well.

Menards, another large home improvement chain, was also contacted by the Country Herald, regarding the amount of traffic in their stores. While they did not reply, the store recently implemented a ban on shoppers “under the age of 16, nor pets, in the store due to the Covid-19 crisis”, per a sign located in front of their Bradley location. The sign does mention, however, service dogs are still welcome.

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