While millions of workers across the nation hunker down at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus, auto parts stores are open for business. But major parts retailers say they’re taking steps to protect employees and customers from the highly contagious virus.
AutoZone launched curbside pickup on March 24. After customers order a part via the web or on the AutoZone mobile app, they receive a confirmation email when the order is ready. Then they have the option to pick up the part in the store or have it delivered to their vehicle in the store parking lot.
“When you arrive, call the store to let them know you have arrived. The store phone number is listed on your confirmation email along with the store address,” AutoZone explains on its website. “Once you arrive and call, a friendly AutoZoner will bring your order out to your car. When picking up your order it’s important to identify your vehicle for the fastest pick-up.”
AutoZone is limiting the number of in-store customers to 10 at one time. The parts chain continues to offer free services such as battery charging and alternator testing, but AutoZoners are required to wear gloves “and maintain appropriate social distancing when helping customers and performing services in our parking lots.”
“Additionally, we have temporarily restricted AutoZoners from entering the cabins of customers’ vehicles to provide assistance for any reason,” AutoZone explains on its website.
In addition to offering free curbside pickup, Advance Auto Parts is offering same-day delivery in several of its markets.
“We recognize our customers may need products delivered to their homes more urgently and we have rapidly built capability to increase the speed of home delivery,” Advance CEO Tom Greco says in an email to customers. “In several markets, this includes our new same-day delivery service, an enhancement to our ship-to-home program that is already available. We are working urgently to accelerate our expansion of same-day delivery service to more markets as soon as possible.”
Advance also has responded to the coronavirus crisis “by taking care of our team members.”
“We’ve provided additional flexibility during this time in terms of both our attendance and sick-leave policy as well as implementing emergency pay guidelines, which includes additional paid sick time to team members who need it,” Greco adds. “We fully recognize how critically important our team members are to providing the care our customers need to repair their vehicles. We’ve also been rigorously cleaning and sanitizing our stores to help our customers get back on the road safely.”
Likewise, O’Reilly has “increased our housekeeping and sanitization efforts in our stores, distribution centers and corporate office,” O’Reilly CEO Greg Johnson explains on the O’Reilly website.
“We are frequently disinfecting often-touched surfaces such as door handles, countertops, keypads, restroom surfaces, shopping carts and baskets,” Johnson says. “We’re asking all of our team members to follow the CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the infection. In these efforts, we are advising our team members to use disposable gloves, disinfectant spray and cleaning solution.
“We have implemented guidelines that instruct those team members who experience cold or flu-like symptoms, or individuals who have been diagnosed through testing with COVID-19, to stay home and follow the CDC’s instructions.”
While NAPA is open “and maintaining normal operations,” according to a message on its website, store employees “are taking precautionary measures to ensure the cleanliness of each NAPA Auto Parts store and we are providing all our employees with the latest information and training available to properly address potential coronavirus issues.”
“From our first store in Atlanta 92 years ago to the nearly 6,000 stores across the United States today, the safety and well-being of our customers and teammates is the top priority at NAPA Auto Parts,” the company says on its website. “With this in mind, we also remain focused on the continued effectiveness of our supply chain to ensure our stores are fully stocked with daily service from our distribution centers. Our thoughts go out to all who have been affected during the unprecedented event. We truly appreciate the first responders, government officials and all our health care professionals who are working tirelessly in their communities.”
This article originally appeared in Counterman magazine, a sister publication of Tire Review.