“This is disgusting!” said Ridgefielder Randall Baldwin, sending along a photo he took showing numerous disposable plastic gloves dropped in the gutter along the sidewalk outside Ridgefield’s Stop and Shop.

Stop and Shop’s corporate management said to look for a trash can where gloves can be disposed of in the area set up for the return of shopping carts — not right outside door but in the parking lot nearby.

“Stop and Shop can confirm that we have added trash receptacles in our parking lots, which are located where customers return their carts after use,” said Maura O’Brien of the Stop and Shop Supermarket Company’s External Communications and Community Relations.

“We have also posted signage that politely asks customers to please dispose of disinfecting wipes, gloves and other trash properly for everyone’s health and safety, and we are doing regular parking lot sweeps,” she said.

Baldwin made clear that he did not mean to criticize the store. “I was not indicating that Stop and Shop was at fault,” he said. “They do have marked trash cans in the parking lot for discarding protective gear. Some of our fellow Ridgefielders are most likely the inconsiderate perpetrators. It is unfortunate that Stop and Shop employees have to clean up the mess.”

Glove ditching also an concern that First Selectman Marconi brought up weeks ago, back when he was addressing the town in nightly video stream-casts, before he came down with the virus himself. He is now recovering from the virus, and is working from home.

“Disposable gloves,” Marconi said back on April 1. “Don’t just throw them in the parking lot on the ground.”

He felt it was an issue of respecting the workers who have to pick up the gloves.

“It’s not right that your gloves should be someone else’s (problem) that they have to take care of.”

In an April 18 release the town office of emergency management addressed the issue of glove disposal:

“Director of Emergency Management Dick Aarons requests that people who are wearing gloves, learn the proper way to remove and discard of the gloves. Gloves should not be tossed in parking lots or on sidewalks but should be discarded in trash bins or taken home to discard. Go to www.cdc.gov How to Remove Gloves for a safe simple guide that will make it easy to transport used gloves to the trash.

Protection measures

Stop and Shop described efforts it has undertaken concerning store management and maintenance, including sanitizing and cleaning, and requirements to wear personal protective equipment (PPE), for the protection and safety of staff and customers during the health crisis.

“Masks, as well as gloves, have been provided to all Stop and Shop associates and we are requiring use of necessary PPE by associates while working,” O’Brien said. “Across our store we have robust procedures in place relative to cleaning and sanitizing, along with a third-party cleaning service that helps stores everyday maintain high levels of sanitation.

“Our associates are also conducting hand washing at more frequent intervals as well as using hand sanitizer on a regular basis. We are ensuring our associates also have access to items like disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizers to use at work to keep themselves safe.”

Social distancing

O’Brien also described some of the steps taken in stores to help maintain proper social distancing among customers. Store aisles may not be wide enough to allow people to pass each other with a six foot separation, so there are arrows on the floor delineating one-way foot traffic through the aisles.

“The health and safety of our associates and customers has been our top priority since the start of the coronavirus crisis. We have implemented a number of measures and standards throughout this process to protect everyone in our stores,” O’Brien said. “We are working extensively to fully sanitize our stores around the clock.

“To better enable associates and customers to practice social distancing, Stop and Shop has limited the number of people at our stores across Connecticut ensuring that customer counts in each store will be limited to a specific number based upon the square footage of the store. Store managers take regular customer counts to ensure that the proper capacity is maintained.

“We have also installed signage throughout the store reminding customers of the 6-foot distance, tape on the floors to delineate the 6-foot at each register, and reminders for customers on our in-store radio broadcasts. Plexiglass shields have been installed at every register as an added protection for our cashiers. Aisles are also one-way traffic only across the entire store,” O’Brien said.

“Over the past weeks face shields and masks were distributed to associates in our stores. This week, Stop and Shop mandated that all associates in our Connecticut stores wear a face covering while at work.”