Joe Raedle/Getty Images

How Much Should You Tip Grocery Store Employees During the Coronavirus Outbreak?

Can you even do it?

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Trips to the grocery store once centered around how to cut your bill in half and what produce was in season. But with the national spread of coronavirus, how to protect your health and the health of grocery store employees at all times has been added to that list. Grocery store employees are essential workers who brave the danger of coronavirus to guarantee people can feed their families.

Coronavirus Care: How to Stop the Spread of Germs When Caring for Someone Sick

Only shopping when necessary and properly practicing safety measures by wearing a face mask and donning gloves are ways to show gratitude to grocery store employees, but if you want to go beyond the basics and leave a tip to show your thanks, there’s one thing you should do first.

“[Before tipping], check with the store,” said Diane Gottsman, a national etiquette expert, author of “Modern Etiquette for a Better Life” and founder of The Protocol School of Texas. “Most grocers don’t allow their employees to accept gratuity. They pay them an hourly rate because they are not relying on tips to make an hourly wage. However, during this time, they may change their policy.”

If you notice a tip jar at the end of a cashier’s register, drop a few extra dollars or your remaining change. Otherwise, ask to speak with a manager to guarantee the employee can receive the cash tip without facing any repercussions for accepting.


Industries across the nation have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Many workers have already been furloughed or laid off entirely. Supporting these businesses and workers is important. Here are small acts of kindness that can be done from your home during the coronavirus pandemic.