Coronavirus: Whole Foods cuts store hours, closes food bars, boosts worker pay


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Whole Food outlined steps it is taking to respond to the coronavirus pandemic — including closing up to two hours earlier to restock and sanitize — in a letter emailed to customers Saturday.

Whole Food said in addition to enhanced sanitation and social distancing, it has made the following changes in operations:

  • Adjusting hours, with stores closing up to two hours early to give our team members more time to restock shelves, sanitize stores and rest in preparation for the next day.
  • Inviting customers 60 and older to shop one hour before it opens to the general public.
  • Temporarily closing self-serve areas of the store, including hot bars, salad bars and antipasti bars. Other seated venues in our stores will offer takeout only, and any indoor or outdoor café seating is closed.

Whole Foods said it is also taking extra precautions to ensure worker safety and well-being. Those measures include:

  • All part- and full-time hourly workers at Whole Foods Market stores and facilities will receive an additional $2 per hour as part of the announcement Amazon made. (Whole Food is owned by Amazon.)
  • All part- and full-time hourly workers will receive double their regular hourly base rate of pay for every overtime hour worked in a workweek from March 16 through May 3, 2020.
  • All Whole Foods Market workers who are placed in quarantine or have a confirmed case of COVID-19 have access to the two weeks’ paid time off.

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