As COVID-19 continues to dominate our lives, we continue to adapt. We are changing some of our policies and procedures at the Co-op because of the new deli opening and because of updated pandemic restrictions. First, as with all interior public spaces in BC, we require everyone to wear a mask at all times. However, because the focus has shifted to airborne transmission of the virus, the restrictions around self-serve items have relaxed. All of our bulk bins have been open for a while, and you can now serve yourself coffee and soup in the deli. We have hand sanitizer posted next to these areas, and we ask you to use it before touching anything.
As far as our staff are concerned, we require everyone to perform a health check before arriving at work. If they show any symptoms of illness or are required to self-isolate for some reason, they cannot come inside the building. Also, in order to relieve the financial burden of being sick, we started a sick time accrual for each staff member and gave them a week’s worth of sick time starting in September. This allows our staff to miss work without missing a paycheque.
We have the gate between the store and the deli/espresso bar open; it’s so nice to see the two spaces integrated again. However, it means that we have to ensure that we don’t have too many people in the building; this means just five customers in the store and seven customers in the deli. We are using the red light/green light system at the entrances to both the store and the cafe. As before, if the light is red, please wait to enter the building. During the winter, the wait times are almost always five minutes or less.
For now, we continue to offer seating outside but not inside. The current regulations do allow inside seating at restaurants; however, during this transition to a deli, we felt it’s better to focus on building that business and dedicate the space to it. Because of the limited number of people we can have in the building, we’d rather make the capacity to shop rather than sit. We have plenty of seating on the back porch and the front patio. We recognize that it’s cold outside, and we’re looking into heater options. This year, though, we’re making inside heating a priority; while the deli space has (mostly) adequate heating, the store does not and it is uncomfortably cold every winter. We are currently looking into a heat pump for the store; this would be an expensive project but well worth it in the long run.
We are also looking at the addition of more inside seating. The deli format will allow for a couple tables in that space but not nearly the same number as before; instead, we intend to enclose the back porch. Our renovation would include building a wall with windows along the east side of the room, installing a new floor covering, and adding heat. This upgraded space could accommodate up to 20 people (without COVID restrictions).
We ask that you become familiar with our current rules and protocols. If you have a question, ask us. If you see something that concerns you, bring it to our attention. If you have a compliment, please share it. Above all, please show kindness and respect for our other customers and our staff. Remember that we’re all in this together and that “Extreme times call for extreme kindness.”
Thank you for your business and continued support for our community enterprise, and thank you for helping us prevent the spread of COVID-19.