The Fort Hood Exchange is making additional changes to its operations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 at the Great Place.
“It is mission crucial that we are remaining calm and providing the service that we can as long as we can,”
Daniel Wise, general manager of Exchange operations at Fort Hood, said.
To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Wise met with Fort Hood senior leaders to discuss the next steps they should take, which led to several changes in the Clear Creek Exchange and Express stores across the installation.
Fort Hood senior leaders announced Tuesday that cloth face coverings are required to be worn at all times inside all Army and Air Force Exchange Service establishments, which include the Clear Creek Exchange, Express stores and Class Six store. Based on Department of Defense recommendations, Wise said the associates in the Exchange and Express stores now wear masks.
Cloth face coverings should also be worn inside the commissaries or any facility where 10 or more people may gather. Facemasks or cloth face coverings should also continue to be worn, including in the workplace, if individuals cannot maintain six feet of distance between each other in accordance with DoD and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
With guidance from the garrison commander, Wise said they are limiting customer counts in all their facilities, varying depending on the size of the building. At the Clear Creek Exchange, the limit is 150 for the entire building, which will help allow for social distancing. The Exchange continues to use footprint signs on the floors at the registers, showing what six feet apart looks like.
Due to the current curfew in place on Fort Hood, Wise said it made no sense for facilities to remain open past curfew, so they have adjusted hours of operation. He said he has been asked why some stores have not closed during this time. He said closing even one of the Express stores would increase the customer density in other stores, which would make no sense given they are trying to limit customer density.
He said while all food operations are still operational, they have closed dining rooms. The restaurants are now limited to takeout, drive-thru and curbside orders.
At the Express stores, they have started sanitizing gas pumps hourly, including the keypads and pumps. The general manager said they realized that placing gloves at the pumps would be ineffective because some people would not use them and it would create a litter problem, with people not disposing of them properly or heavy winds blowing them away. He also considered hand sanitizer at the pumps, but hand sanitizer is hard to find right now. When it came down to it, he said they needed to know for themselves that the pumps were as clean as possible.
“It’s because everybody touches it (the pumps),” Wise said. “The important thing is we know it’s getting done because we’re doing it.”
Inside the stores, they have also installed plexiglass shielding between the associates and customers to limit exposure. He said the plexiglass is sanitized every half hour, along with the credit card readers and stylus.
“We encourage customers to use plastic as much as possible, but we don’t say ‘no, you can’t use cash,’” Wise said. “Cash does carry a lot of bacteria, so if you can, use plastic.”
Beginning April 7, the Clear Creek Exchange began curbside order pickup. Wise said customers can login to ShopMyExchange.com, place a curbside pickup order and drive to the store when they are notified the order is ready for pickup.
“When they get notified that their order is ready for pickup, all they have to do is on the side where our Outdoor Living area is, there are four parking spots designated with signs,” Wise explained. “You pull up to one of those, there’s a phone number on it and you call or text it with your order number and we bring it out to you.”
Another big addition is delivery to the North Fort Hood Troop Store, which began on April 9. He said troops who are mobilizing or are in quarantine at North Fort Hood can now purchase items at ShopMyExchange.com and select the North Fort Hood as the pickup location.
“If you’re in quarantine, the quarantine group picks it up for you,” he said. “If you’re mobilizing, you just go to the store and pick it up.”
Wise said there is not additional charges for delivery to North Fort Hood. He said micro-market takes care of a lot of immediate needs, such as personal hygiene products, but if a person needs specific products, they can be ordered.
“Let’s say you have a skin allergy and need a cream, you can login to Shop My Exchange, select North Fort Hood Troop Store and select items to be delivered to that store,” he added.
Visit the Exchange on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/HoodExchange, for information about additional changes.