Checkout lines have a new look at some area grocery stores.

To protect both shoppers and cashiers from coronavirus infection, Acme Fresh Markets and Giant Eagle stores in the area have installed plexiglass barriers at checkout counters, according to news releases from both grocers.

The Summit County Health Department March 23 issued a statement that retailers and grocers "must adhere to social distancing guidelines in regards to queue lines in front of and inside stores as ordered by the Summit County Public Health Commissioner Donna Skoda."

The new look got positive reviews from a handful of shoppers at the Stow-Kent Acme store, including Chris and Rebecca Collins.

Chris said he would like to see other stores add the barriers, as well.

"They should help keep viruses contained, not just because of this, but at any other time," said Chris. "Anybody can be sick at any time. This thing that’s come out now, yes, has become a big issue, but even before anybody could have a cold."

Giant Eagle and Acme stores also have installed floor indicators at checkout lines to help make sure guests stay 6 feet apart, as required by social distancing rules. Both grocery chains also are asking guests to temporarily refrain from using reusable grocery bags.

"These are just a few examples of the steps we are taking to safeguard the health and well-being of both our team members and guests," said Dan Donovan, Giant Eagle spokesperson. "We are not wavering in our commitment to providing an unparalleled guest service or a future free of single-use plastics, but rather are asking our guests to take this opportunity to help us promote the safest shopping experience possible."

Erika Pfeiffer, another shopper at the Stow-Kent Acme, said she didn’t notice the taping on the floor at the store, but said she also approves of the safety measures and expects all grocery stores to adopt similar measures.

"There are a lot of businesses that are having to close down right now," she said. "Grocery stores are not; grocery stores are probably doing better than ever right now. So, you spend a few bucks to keep everybody safe, to keep it open. I do not see that as an undue burden at all."

With a daughter who works at an area Target store, Pfeiffer has a personal stake in how grocers protect their employees.

According to Target’s website, the company is encouraging shoppers to order through pickup or drive-up services.

All three companies have set specific hours for older shoppers and those with compromised immune systems.

"By direction of the state of Ohio’s ‘Stay at Home’ order, Acme Fresh Market asks its great customers to allow the 7-8 a.m. grocery shopping hour to be reserved for our most vulnerable customers," said Katie Swartz, vice president of marketing for Acme Fresh Markets.

At Giant Eagle, that hour for older and compromised shoppers is 6-7 a.m., according to a company news release.

The first hour of shopping at the Stow-Kent, Cuyahoga Falls and Streetsboro Target stores, from 8-9 a.m., also is reserved for seniors, according to Those who shop other Target stores should check online to confirm opening times.

According to a statement from Meijer’s CEO and president Rick Keyes, the company is doing its best to meet increased demand for its home delivery and pick-up options.

"We’re adding more pickup and delivery times and appreciate your patience as we work hard to fulfill your orders quickly," stated Keyes.

Reporter Bob Gaetjens can be reached at 330-541-9440, or @bobgaetjens_rpc.