Chick-fil-A will add handwashing stations at drive-thru locations and mall stores this month as part of a larger effort to protect staff and customers from the coronavirus. The chain is requiring employees to wash their hands at least every half hour and immediately after each time they handle cash.
Sprouts Farmers Market is going ahead with expansion plans by adding four new stores in three states, including two locations in Florida and one each in Washington and California. The new site in Silverdale, Wash., is set to open April 8; a store in Pasadena, Calif., is scheduled for April 15; followed by Jacksonville, Fla., on April 29 and a store in Estero on Florida's west coast scheduled to debut in June.
Chicago grocer Mariano's has started a series of virtual events aimed at helping people cope with the ongoing restrictions in place to help slow the spread of coronavirus. "Mariano's Meet Ups" feature online cooking and mixology classes, wine tastings, events for children and live music featuring local artists.
Walmart, Kroger and Hy-Vee are among US grocers that have implemented one-way traffic patterns to slow the spread of coronavirus by keeping shoppers at a distance as they move through stores. "And once customers check out, they will be directed to exit through a different door than they entered, which should help lessen the instances of people closely passing each other," said Walmart Chief Operating Officer Dacona Smith.
Health care providers and schools are beginning to offer digital mental health support to students, whose lives and schedules have been traumatically upended by the coronavirus pandemic. Therapist Lizz Dexter-Mazza and her husband, Jim Mazza, a University of Washington professor, are holding Zoom sessions using their mental health curriculum, which focuses on regulating emotions and mindfulness.
Consumers are likely to reach for the comfort of familiar foods and beverages in the coming months during the coronavirus pandemic rather than gravitate toward the latest trends, said Culinary Tides president Suzy Badaracco. "It can be difficult to know which trends are most likely to rise above the noise over the next 12 months," she added.
The Kool-Aid brand has revealed the whereabouts of its iconic mascot that went missing about a month ago. The Kool-Aid Man was found in the Coney Island neighborhood of Brooklyn, N.Y., at the end of the VaynerMedia campaign, which attracted more than 50,000 followers and unveiled a limited-edition cotton candy flavor for Kool-Aid Jammers.
Beverage producers are offsetting lost unit sales for carbonated soft drinks by launching hybrid functional varieties that leverage increasing consumer interest in sparkling water, energy and coffee drinks, said Aga Jarzabek, a research analyst at Euromonitor. She added marketers are repositioning legacy brands as an indulgent treat with smaller container sizes to "make the drinks a bit more approachable for the sugar wary."
Lawmakers in Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey and New York are considering measures that would require insurance companies to cover losses sustained by restaurants during the coronavirus outbreak that closed in response to state or municipal mandates. The National Restaurant Association has sent letters to state governors urging them to require insurance companies to honor business disruption policies.
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