Just days after closing its Bryant Park store to customers, grocery chain Whole Foods announced that the shop, located on Sixth Avenue between West 41st and 42nd Streets, would remain open for online orders only — a move in hopes of speeding up grocery deliveries amid long waits. This location, as well as an outpost in Baltimore, will be the first Whole Foods outposts in the country to transition to the online-only model.
Whole Foods has experienced long lines at its stores and even longer delivery waits online since the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City in March. Late last month, the grocery chain asked all its 13 NYC outposts to instate a 50 person limit at a time for in-store shopping.
The chain has also introduced a series of safety protocols at all of its locations nationwide that started in mid-March. The stores now conduct daily temperature checks on all employees and provide masks and gloves to each staffer as well. The chain has also installed plexiglass barriers between cashiers and customers at checkout and is adjusting store hours to give staffers more time to restock shelves without customers being present.
And although New York already had a ban on dine-in seating, all Whole Foods locations across the country will also close seating areas, and customers won’t be allowed to bring their reusable containers into the store either.
It’s not yet clear how long the Bryant Park location will remain online-only. A spokesperson for the chain said the compay is assessing things on a daily basis. The same is true for transitioning other NYC Whole Foods locations to online-only. While no decisions have been made, there could be more announcements depending on the demand.