MANILA, Philippines — SM Markets, the mother brand of three food retail formats SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and Savemore Market, is the first supermarket group to regularly test its workers for the COVID-19 virus.

The program is in line with its commitment to continue delivering essential goods and services while ensuring the safety of shoppers and store personnel alike amid the pandemic.

The group has a total of 317 stores all over the country with more than 20,000 employees, 7,000 security and maintenance staff and close to 30,000 merchandisers. SM covers the periodic rapid antibody testing of employees.

Likewise, its vendor partners support SM’s health precautions by having their respective merchandisers regularly tested as well. This ensures the regular antibody testing of close to 60,000 supermarket workers nationwide.

The move to regularly test all workers helps screen out possible infection and prevent the spread of the virus among SM personnel. At the same time, this is the company’s means to protect its customers while they are shopping inside the supermarket.

“We believe that regularly checking the health of our own people is one of the strongest components in our programs combatting COVID-19. This initiative gives our customers peace of mind while shopping,” said SM Hypermarket president Arnold Daluz.

Since the onset of the pandemic, SM Markets has heightened its health and safety protocols to help ensure that the customers and employees who continue to go to its stores are safe.

All stores and facilities, especially those with heavy human contact like carts, handles, baskets and counters, get thorough sanitation and disinfection multiple times a day. PPEs are provided to all personnel and temperature scanners and hand sanitizers are in place for anyone entering the premises.

Lastly, SM enjoins its customers to practice safe shopping through the enforcement of face masks, social distancing rackets, floor markers, cashless transactions and the installation of checkout counter acrylic shields.