The global corporate office for the familiar lime-green BP convenience store brand proudly announces on bp.com that “Safety is our core value.” The site lists recommended safety measures that their retail stores follow as well as “stores not operated directly by BP to help them operate to similarly high standards.”
How have they adapted for employee safety?
There are not any blue lines or blue x’s marking the floors at the BP stores, reminding employees and customers of the 6’ social distancing requirement. Even without the bright blue visual reminders, everyone visiting the BP stores is adhering to the 6’ social distancing rule.
Employees are supplied with the appropriate personal protective equipment, such as gloves, masks, and aprons. Personal protective equipment is optional.
A bottle of hand sanitizer conveniently located on the check-out counter is available for both employees and customers to use. Employees use the hand sanitizer after each interaction with customers. In the last four weeks, BP Preston has gone through five bottles of sanitizer.
The most noticeable change is the acrylic sneeze guards installed on check-out counters at all four of S&A Petroleum’s stores. The sneeze guards range in height from 33” to 40” and come in a variety of widths. The guards are designed to create an extra layer of protection between customers and employees. It took employees time to adjust the sneeze guards. The guards make it difficult for employees to hear their customers and make it difficult for bagging purchases. Customers now are bagging their purchases. Besides taking up valuable counter space, the cutout space at the bottom of the guard is very small, making it difficult to pass grocery items under it, so grocery bags and purchases are being passed around the side of the sneeze guard.
Cashier Jean Schott, BP Preston, mentioned, “Emphasis is placed on cleaning.” Preston BP Store Manager Barb Hanning went on to explain that they have always focused on cleaning, but now they are paying even more attention to cleaning. Counters, PIN terminals, door handles, toilets are disinfected throughout the day and night.
BPme app users currently are seeing a Coronavirus Update when they first open the app. “Due to current circumstances, some sites may be experiencing temporarily reduced hours or site closures. We thank you for your patience as we work to ensure the safety of site staff and customers.” Stores are closing earlier, giving employees time to complete cleaning as they have more responsibilities now when it comes to cleaning. Contact your local BP to find out their new hours of operation.
Employees have the option of not working during the pandemic if they do not feel safe, have small children at home, no babysitter, or have health concerns.
How has customer service changed in their gas stations?
BP Mabel Store Manager, Cathy Peterson, mentioned that customers are asked not to bring in re-usable coffee cups for their coffee.
The stores’ deli and bakery departments have also experienced changes. Some deli items made on-site have been discontinued, and bakery items are now pre-packaged by the employees. Also, the deli shuts down early.
Paying with cash, even if it’s a small amount, is discouraged. Customers are encouraged to pay with a credit or debit card at the pump or use the BPme app.
BP employees miss seeing their regular customers that are staying home due to health concerns. The employees have taken it upon themselves to help those customers. BP Preston goes above and beyond to deliver the local Fillmore County Journal every week to one loyal customer. The staff takes the paper to his house and drops it off in his mailbox.
Gas pumps are disinfected regularly – and disposable gloves and hand sanitizers are available at the pumps.
The employees of BP convenience stores in SE Minnesota expressed their appreciation to S&A Petroleum for their support and the measures they have implemented to ensure employee and customer safety.