Is this specific to Passover (at the grocery store)?

So, I just got back from the grocery store and noticed something I had not seen before - whether it’s always like that or a recent change, I’m not sure.

I know that as Passover approaches, the grocery stores near me increase their stock of kosher products and display them slightly more prominently. I assume that these goods had been recently moved to this spot, but then I’m not always at my most observant when I’m in the grocery store. The shelves had been covered with white paper before the goods were placed on them - like if you put shelf paper in your kitchen cabinets, then put your plates and such in them. Since none of the other shelves in the store have lined shelves, I assume this has something to do with properly maintaining the foods.

Why is the store doing this? Is it because of the possibility (probability, even) that non-kosher foods were stored on those shelves during the year? If not, what is the reasoning for it?

The new products are “Kosher for Passover”. On Passover, in addition to the usual strictures of Kosher law, we Jews also don’t eat or use anything made with leavened grain products (wheat, barley, oats, etc.) While many products that are in common use by non-Jews are Kosher, most of them are not Kosher for Passover, so the recognizably Kosher brands have greater representation at this time of year.

The reason for the shelf paper is so that the Kosher for Passover products not come in contact with any crumbs from the aforementioned leavened wheat products. This is not necessary for ordinary Kosher products, where one is allowed to have non-Kosher in one’s house and is merely not allowed to eat it, but for Passover, there is a special commandment to rid one’s house of all leaven. So the stores lay down paper so that the Kosher-for-Passover consumer will be willing to bring it into his/her leaven-free home.

Wow, you learn something new every day. I’ve never noticed the shelf paper around here (Chicago), but I’ll keep an eye out for it.

What I’ve always found slightly amusing, though, is that the major supermarket chains here tend to take everything that could be considered remotely Jewish and put it on the endcaps around Jewish holidays, even stuff that isn’t at all related to that holiday. (Shabbat candles for Purim, stuff that isn’t remotely Kosher for Passover just because it’s Maneschewitz brand, etc.) Couldn’t they find a single halfway knowledgeable Jew among their thousands of employees?