By Nathan Wayne
Different stores across the country are being both shamed and praised at the same time due to their COVID-19 response. Northgate markets, specifically the one in La Habra, are taking significant precautions to ensure safety for their customers and are one of the safest stores around.
When I arrived at Northgate La Habra on May 5, the first thing that I saw was a long line out the front door. Though this was good because it means that they are taking time to enforce the rules and keep maximum capacity levels stable. Here are some rules that they have enforced and are starting to be enforced in other stores as well: No reusable bags, no large family groups (Depending on the circumstance), masks are required, no taking off masks in store, surfaces must be wiped every 20 minutes, Social Distancing in lines, all carts must be wiped, and early hours are for seniors and vulnerable only.
There are no shortages of products at this particular Northgate because all toilet paper and meat products are rationed. When asking shoppers if this surprised them the common answer was “Since the beginning of this pandemic, Northgate has almost always been in full stock with all products”. During our interview and press briefing, La Habra City Councilmember Rose Espinoza was doing her regular shopping trip in her custom mask.
Every worker at Northgate has to report to their manager or supervisor if sick and will immediately be sent home for two weeks. Manager Joshua Gonzales says; “so far we have 0 confirmed cases of COVID-19 [At the La Habra Northgate]”. Providing masks for free to every customer that walks in their doors has been something that has caused a huge financial impact, but was a very safe choice for them to make. When taking high resolution pictures of the surfaces they look “dirty” because there is white lint all over them, but really it is the excess from the Cleaning wipes, which is good!
So far this has been the store that releases the most amount of information to the press/media that we have seen, and they have done an outstanding job in protecting their employees, Orange County citizens, and Los Angeles County citizens. This is why the manager, Josh Gonzales, was presented Nathan Wayne News’s Safe and Caring Award.