The convenience store chain Wawa has announced temporary changes for self-service areas of its stores as a result of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The changes took effect at 5 a.m. Friday, March 20, and include:
- Temporarily adjusting self-service coffee so it is no longer self-service. Now a Wawa associate will serve coffee to customers.
- Temporarily suspending all self-service of fountain beverages, Icee drinks, cappuccino and iced coffee.
- Individually bagging all bakery products for customers.
In a letter from Wawa CEO Chris Gheysens published on Wawa.com Tuesday, Gheysens described the company’s philosophy and how it’s adapted to the challenges of COVID-19.
“We all know that this pandemic demands a whole new level of response,” he said. “For Wawa, right now, that new level of response means keeping our stores open to the best of our ability. As a designated essential provider, our stores provide food and fuel necessary to support the needs of our communities. Our associates are stepping up to give families, health workers and first responders access to the provisions they need close to where they live or work. For us, helping those who help others has always been our promise–and it is the right thing to do.”
The company said Thursday it is also adjusting store hours and closing all 24-hour stores nightly between 2 and 3 a.m. for additional store cleaning, sanitation and stocking.
“In order to remain open safely, Wawa has enhanced our already strict cleaning and quality standards by increasing the frequency of cleaning and disinfecting of all touch points and surfaces,” the company said in its March 19 letter. “Wawa remains committed to delivering our purpose of fulfilling lives every day and will continue to monitor the way we operate and make adjustments as needed.”
There are numerous Wawa stores in the Lehigh Valley, including one at 1429 Broadway in Fountain Hill and one at 741 E. Broad Street in Bethlehem.
On Thursday at around 1 p.m., the Fountain Hill store appeared nearly deserted, although that was before the changes announced in yesterday’s letter took effect.