While a number of retail businesses have laid off workers due to the coronavirus pandemic, Maine-based Hannaford Supermarkets is in the middle of a push to hire 2,000 workers across the Northeast.
The hiring of new staff is to keep up with the growing demand at current stores, to expand Hannaford To Go delivery services and to relieve staff who have been working extra hours since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Our associates have really stepped up and done a fabulous job but they're getting tired," said Scott LeClair, Hannaford's Director of Talent and Human resources.
The 2,000 new positions are a mix of full-time, part-time and temporary positions across Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York and Massachusetts.
The fresh faces will provide relief for vacations and time off but LeClair said some might not stick around for that long as the temporary option is geared for people who are currently out of work from other positions.
"Those people would probably be leaving in 90 days to go back to their other jobs," LeClair said. "People furloughed from restaurants or places that are closed, we've been reaching out to them actively and offering temporary roles."
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LeClair said he understands that there is "a real concern" for anyone being a frontline employee and potentially being exposed to the novel coronavirus, but the company is taking every precaution possible to keep employees and customers healthy.
Employees are offered either a mask or a full face shield, markers to help people properly distance are placed on floors and plexiglass shields have been put up for employees to work behind, LeClair said.
"Some states are mandating the number of people in stores. We're doing that as well," he said.
The need for jobs is apparent. On Friday, Maine Gov. Janet Mills opened the first virtual meeting of a new economic recovery committee, meant to help the state through its historic unemployment and business crisis by saying, "we're facing brand new challenges of a very, very dramatic sort."
Anyone interested in applying for a job at Hannaford can do so online or by inquiring in a store. The company hopes to have all 2,000 positions filled by mid-June.