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Metcalfe’s introduces color-coded bracelets to show COVID comfort level

Metcalfe's "Social Bands" launched this week, allowing customers to show how comfortable they...
Metcalfe's "Social Bands" launched this week, allowing customers to show how comfortable they are with handshakes and other interactions.(WMTV/Michelle Baik)
Updated: Jun. 18, 2021 at 9:16 PM EDT
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) - A local grocery chain wants to help meet-and-greets return to normal through color-coded bracelets.

At all Metcalfe’s locations, shoppers can choose to grab and wear green, yellow or red wristbands called “social bands.”

Green gives the “go ahead,” for high fives and handshakes. By choosing yellow, customers can signal their caution and preference for an elbow-to-elbow greeting. Red is for “no contact.”

“We’re in this in-between phase of ‘masks are coming off’ and ‘what are people comfortable with?’ So we thought of doing these comfort bands, which is a way to express, without saying a word, how comfortable you are with interaction,” Lisa Grudzielanek, the store’s assistant director of operations, said.

Grudzielanek said the most popular wristbands among customers have been the green and red bands, representing views on opposite ends of the spectrum.

“I think it’s a great idea,” employee Elizabeth White said, adding the bracelets are a sign of the times. “It’s a weird thing to have to show people how close you want them to come to you. But I think it also shows respect, and I think that’s a really important thing,” she said.

Shopper Tammy Boesen chose a yellow band, saying, “Instead of doing fist bumps-- we don’t do them anymore. We do elbow bumps.”

Jose Roman, another customer, chose a green band and explained, “I got both shots already, [a] long time ago, so I’m feeling good.”

Metcalfe’s said it bought a one-time purchase of three thousand bands to be used for a short, transitional time.

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