Editor’s Note: This release was edited by Larry Lapka
Safety a Priority As Military Resale Enters Holiday Shopping Season
As October moved into November, holiday shopping season crept closer to fruition as it does every year at this time.
However, this year’s holiday shopping season will be different than any in memory. When the pandemic hit months earlier, everything changed in our world, and this includes the daily routine at local military stores, where precautions and protocols were instituted to ensure that patrons were safe when doing their shopping.
With these measures in place, the exchanges have been able to weather the COVID-19 storm, continuing to meet the demands of military shoppers.
And with the holiday season at the doorstep, these stores have taken extra precautions to ensure that safety is paramount during the busiest shopping time of the year.
• VIRGINIA BEACH
The Navy Exchange Service Command (NEXCOM) recently announced that it is taking additional steps to ensure customers feel comfortable and safe while shopping in their worldwide network of stores during the upcoming holiday season.
“Customer and associate safety is our No.-1 priority this holiday season,” said retired Rear Adm. Robert J. Bianchi, NEXCOM’s chief executive officer (CEO) “We know this holiday season will be like no other we’ve ever experienced. To that end, we have created several initiatives so customers can shop smarter, safer and earlier this year. We are balancing that safety while still offering the festive holiday spirit and the great deals on key brands and products our customers have come to expect from their NEX.”
NEX store aisles will be kept clear of displays to ensure room for social distancing. There will also be a strict occupancy limit in stores as well as a limit to the number of customers allowed in the checkout line during peak shopping days.
According to NEXCOM, the frequency of deep cleaning in stores will be increased during the holiday season. This cleaning includes regular wiping down of surfaces, door handles, shopping carts and other public areas as prescribed by the Bureau of Medicine and Surgery and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Sanitary wipes and/or hand sanitizer will be readily available at cash registers, and sneeze shields remain installed at registers for the safety of associates and patrons alike.
Also, everyone inside a NEX location must wear a cloth face covering at all times.
“This year has been extraordinary in many ways and has taught us all some valuable lessons including the importance of family and friends,” Bianchi said. “We have so much to be thankful for. On behalf of our 12,000 NEXCOM associates around the world, thank you for your service and your support!”
Marine Corps Exchange (MCX) Stores are adhering to several safety protocols to protect the health and safety of its customers and employees.
According to Bryan Driver, spokesman, Plans, Policy and Analysis Directorate, Business and Support Services Division, these measures include enhanced cleaning protocols; early shopping for customer convenience and safety; and the use of plexi-shields at point of sale.
When customers are inside the store, mandatory face coverings must be worn; there is a social distancing of six feet; and there is a monitoring the number of people in a store.
“In addition, we’ve made specific adjustments to promotion schedules and hours to ensure we are better able to manage social distancing both inside and outside of the store,” Driver said. “High-demand items are also going to be staged throughout the store to better flow traffic, even if outside its parent department.”
The Army & Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) is committed to providing safe, secure, sanitized shopping — including contactless options — for those authorized customers doing holiday and everyday shopping in its worldwide network of stores.
“Customers who choose to shop in person will find clean, sanitized stores, malls and restaurants,” said Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Kevin Osby, the Exchange’s senior enlisted advisor. “This year’s tradition of Black Friday shopping will look different because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but the Exchange’s commitment to taking care of Soldiers, Airmen and their families remains the same.”
Unlike other years, when AAFES stores joined in the holiday hoopla by opening its stores at the earliest hours possible, Black Friday sales start online midnight Central time Nov. 26 at ShopMyExchange.com, with Exchange main stores worldwide opening at 8 a.m.
To further protect the force, the Exchange:
• Installed acrylic shields at points of sale, customer service areas and restaurants.
• Regularly disinfects customer service and sales points to include key pads multiple times daily, including at restaurants and concessionaires.
• Thoroughly cleans product displays and high-traffic fixtures.
• Added sanitizing stations.
• Adheres to Department of Defense (DoD) guidance for mandatory face masks.
• Merchandised stores, with social distancing in mind, for a safer and easier shopping experience.
At most locations, shoppers can avoid traditional holiday shopping crowds with “buy online, pick up in store” and curbside pickup contactless options.
Extra precautions are being taken at NEXCOM stores to ward off transmission of the coronavirus, including the use of mandatory face coverings and the installation of acrylic shields at each checkout to protect both patrons and employees.