Hy-Vee Introduces COVID-Fighting Cart Sterilization System

It's a car wash for shopping carts.

High Angle View Of Abandoned Parking Lot
Photo: Sema Srinouljan / EyeEm / Getty Images

With October almost over, most of us are about to enter the eighth full month of worrying about or otherwise working around COVID-19 in one form or another. To put it mildly, it hasn't been very fun.

In a sign of both our progress in keeping the virus at bay and just how long we'll have to live in this warped reality, it looks like some supermarkets are introducing high-tech cart sterilization systems that could help fight off the virus (or at least offer peace of mind) as a predicted winter wave looms.

Starting in mid-November, Hy-Vee will be the first to offer this sort of automated cart cleaning system. Shoppers will see something called the Sterile Cart cart wash system in more than 200 stores across eight states, the company told Iowa-based NBC affiliate WEEK.

Fittingly, a cart wash functions pretty similarly to a car wash. Using a low-pressure spray and a self-drying disinfectant, Sterile Cart can clean multiple carts at a time with great consistency, sanitizing the whole cart rather than the usual high-touch areas that get wiped down.

Not only does this sort of thing save time and ensure greater consistency, but it also frees employees from a task that could potentially put them in contact with the virus. The fact that it should put customers' minds at ease is probably no small bonus for Hy-Vee, either.

While there's no word yet on other supermarket chains that might follow suit, it isn't the first time something like this has been tried either. A Texas restaurant has previously put up a disinfectant portal of sorts for its guests, but this would seem to be the first time that shopping carts were an explicit focus for auto disinfection.

Given the way things are trending, grocery shopping could become a bit more stressful again very soon, so hopefully these sorts of cart sterilization systems become a common sight. Though we'd all much rather live in a world where such things weren't necessary, I guess this sort of protection is better than nothing.

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