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Hy-Vee is trying to work smarter, not harder. Instead of having a bunch of employees scrubbing down every cart after every use to stop the spread of COVID-19, the Midwest based grocery chain is bringing on a new, robot employee to sanitize the carts all by itself.

In a press release on Tuesday, Hy-Vee announced that it is introducing an automated cleaning system that will clean and sanitize shopping carts after every use. In the release, Hy-Vee officials say that by mid-November, more than 200 Hy-Vee stores will be using a Sterile Cart system. By Hy-Vee implementing these Sterile Cart systems, this makes them the first grocery chain to implement the fully automated sanitization system across its company.

Via Hy-Vee

Hy-Vee officials say that the Sterile Cart systems cleans several carts quickly and consistently. This system will eliminate the need for store employees to manually clean each cart during the day. The Sterile Cart system cleans the entire cart, not just the handle or highly touched areas.

Randy Edeker, chairman, CEO and president of Hy-Vee said in the press release,

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, it has been our desire to put Hy-Vee customers’ minds at ease with thorough sanitization measures. We are always looking at innovative ways to improve store operations, improve the shopping experience for customers and, most importantly, ensure the health and safety of our customers and our employees."

Sterile Cart is manufactured by Minnesota-based IZZA Manufacturing and distributed by Ultra Green Packaging.

The Sterile Cart system will be installed where shopping carts are returned and stored for customers to use.

Since the beginning of the pandemic back in March, Hy-Vee employees have been regularly cleaning carts throughout the day. Hy-Vee stores also have sanitation wipes available where customers grab a cart to go shop.

More details about Hy-Vee implementing the Sterile Cart system can be found here.