The Defense Commissary Agency (DeCA) recently announced the cancellation of the annual Spring Sidewalk Sales as well as other special events in the wake of COVID-19 (also known as the Coronavirus) concerns. “The cancellation of these events is due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak and out of an abundance of caution for the safety of our employees, customers and industry partners,” said Tracie Russ, DeCA’s director of sales.
DeCa has also implemented a rationing system. In-Store signage will indicate if an item is rationed and what the allowable quantity is. You also won’t be able to place a special order on these items. So no gaming the system and special ordering toilet paper and hand sanitizer. Commissary Store Directors decide locally which items are limited based on availability. Likely items include bottled water, spray disinfectant, baby wipes/sanitizing wipes, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, rice and bleach.
Central distribution centers, the central meat processing plant and DeCA stores are all designated mission-critical in DOD’s response to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic according to Virginia S. Penrod, acting assistant Secretary of Defense for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. “”Providing for the care and feeding of our military members and families is a critical requirement that must be accomplished at all health protection condition levels,” she announced.
Grocery stores tend to have a high level of sanitation due to food safety concerns and with the outbreak your Commissaries are working hard to keep you safe. Commissary customers worried about whether or not it’s safe to shop in the store shouldn’t be, said Army Lt. Col. Angela Parham, DeCA director of health and safety. “We follow the highest standards of DOD health protection in our stores,” she said. “This means we are always vigilant to ensure our workforce follows the strictest precautionary measures including routine hand washing and other basic sanitation measures to avoid spreading germs.”
“Our commissaries undergo daily sanitizing, disinfecting and cleaning regimens tailored to protect our customers’ health,” Parham added. “These routine measures used by food establishments to prevent ordinary foodborne illness also work to keep viruses from spreading and help keep customers and employees from getting sick.”
Here are other changes DeCA has made to ensure the health and safety of employees and patrons.
- commissary cashiers will no longer handle patron ID cards. Instead, customers will be asked to scan their own ID; cashiers may use the handheld scanner if available.
- 100% I.D. card checks at the entrance of the store. Children under 10 with their parents don’t have to have an ID Card.
- Guests/Visitors will no longer be allowed to accompany patrons at the commissary.
- designated ‘COVID-19 Vulnerable’ hours – check your local commissary for hours
- No ‘Early Bird’ shopping hours.
- As an additional precaution during the COVID-19 pandemic, the commissary will discontinue the use of reusable shopping bags.
When shopping the commissary in the next few weeks, make sure to allow extra time for I.D. checks and slower moving lines with social distancing. Don’t stress the system by shopping only for what you typically need and be conscious of your fellow patrons by not clearing the shelves of a select item.
Marguerite Cleveland is a freelance writer who specializes in human interest and travel stories. She is a military brat, a veteran and now a military spouse. Her military experience is vast as the daughter of a Navy man who served as an enlisted sailor and then Naval Officer. She served as an enlisted soldier in the reserves and on active duty, then as an Army Officer. She currently serves as a military spouse. She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and two sons. Visit her website www.PeggyWhereShouldIGo.com