Viking Saga

Local Business Affected By Pandemic

David Stoddard

Tri-Town adjusts safety protocols to remain open and serve public in time of uncertainty.

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone to create a “new normal.” Tri-Town is one of many local businesses in East Lyme that had to adapt and accommodate to these uncertain times. Grocery stores deal with many customers every day and are vital to providing essentials to the public. With this being the case,
much had to be done to ensure the safety of shoppers and employees. Tri-Town stopped letting customers bring in their own bags, stopped taking refunds, and eventually started checking customers’ temperatures at the door. In addition to this are the vigorous sanitizing of every surface a shopper could touch and, of course, requiring a mask be worn inside the store. “We did get hazard pay, which is very nice, but the atmosphere was definitely much more anxious than it was before,” said Tri-Town employee and ELHS senior
Zachary Cabral. Tri-town has always focused on providing superior customer service, so with new regulations came a challenge to juggle safety and care. “[The pandemic has] affected our ability to cater to everyone’s needs, but now that it’s on the downswing, we’re definitely more able to fulfill those needs.
The primary hindrance to our customer service was our inability to refund items,” said front end supervisor,
Sam Sims. “There are some other issues that affect customer satisfaction, namely the plexiglass screens in front of the registers, other customers not wearing masks in the store, and just general anxiety with the coronavirus released on the customers, but that’s starting to go away with the reopening of CT,” said Sims.
As for the business itself, sales were two to three times higher than projected for multiple weeks, due to panic buyers. “It’s definitely starting to go back to normal, but we still have a long way to go. Our sales have begun to go back to normal, but we’re still going through rigorous measures to sanitize and clean the store for both the employees and the customers,” said Sims. While the future is uncertain, local businesses like Tri-Town are doing everything they can to keep the public safe and provide them with basic goods.

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