As he motioned a father accompanied by two school-aged children into the store, Hunger Mountain Co-op “gate-keeper” Chuck Edson explained that they needed to proceed single file, not abreast. “If you are side-by-side, the counter will think you’re just one person,” he said.
COVID-19 guidelines restrict the number of customers in the Hunger Mountain Co-op to a maximum of 40 at any given time. At busy times, keeping track of the number of patrons entering and exiting the popular store can be daunting for the staff gatekeepers – who are also sanitizing returned shopping carts before use by the next customers.
Kari Bradley, Co-op general manager, explained that the addition of the Sensource electronic counter system adds and subtracts as customers enter or leave the store. “It’s not perfect,” said Bradley, noting the potential for a miscount when customers enter side-by-side. “At this point, we’re periodically doing a manual audit of how many people are in the store as a check. But it is a big help for the gate-keepers who, along with sanitizing carts, are greeting customers and answering questions.”