As the World Health Organization has declared the novel coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic, we have a responsibility to reduce the spread of the virus as a community gathering place and as a critical service provider to the island. We are taking the recommendations from the World Health Organization, the Public Health Agency of Canada, and the Province of BC Centre for Disease Control in order to protect our customers and our staff.

Here are the actions we are taking now:

  • Making the cafe “to-go” only when open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays
  • Removing all self-service food from the store and cafe; to be served by staff instead
  • Providing instructions and reminders for staff to wash their hands effectively and often
  • Asking staff to avoid personal contact in the building
  • Sanitizing common surfaces throughout the store and cafe on a regular schedule
  • Asking staff who may be sick to stay home
  • Providing updated information to staff on an ongoing basis
  • Canceling or postponing some events and demonstrations
  • Asking non-staff not to enter our back rooms and kitchens
  • Posting reminders and guidelines for customers about food handling
  • Making home delivery available

We ask that you, our members and customers, do your part as well by following these recommendations from the government:

  • Wash your hands frequently; our washrooms are open and stocked.
  • Use our hand sanitizer as necessary (it’s not as effective or plentiful as washing hands).
  • Avoid close contact with people in the building.
  • Ensure your containers (such as bulk jars or coffee cups) are sanitized properly; unfortunately the store and cafe do not have the capacity to do this for you.
  • Cough or sneeze into a tissue or the bend of your arm.
  • Avoid touching your face whenever possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick, if you demonstrate any typical symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, or difficulty breathing), or if you may have been exposed (for example, through travel or through contact with someone you know).
  • There is no need to panic buy. We are continuously monitoring our inventory in order to provide food for everyone, so please consider the rest of the community while shopping.
  • If you’d like to stock up, take advantage of our pre-order system for members.
  • Wash your fruits and vegetables with soap and water if you decide to eat them raw.

For more recommendations from the Cortes Community Health Centre, follow this link

We may decide to take further action as the situation warrants. If we do so, we will communicate these actions with all staff and customers. For now, we remain committed to being open in order to serve the community.

We intend to be fully staffed and fully stocked throughout this pandemic. We will work closely with our suppliers to maintain our stock levels. Lock-downs in Canada are possible, as we have seen in Italy and around the world, and we know from those areas that food continues to be delivered and sold – even if no other businesses or institutions are open.

If at any time we become aware of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the building, either staff or customer, we will communicate this to all staff and the public.

To some people, these measures may seem to be too much; to others, they may not seem like enough. Our approach is to take reasonable action as recommended by government agencies. Health Canada has classified the risk to Canadians as low, and yet we know we can all save lives by taking action now. We will take this situation one day at a time and respond as best we can. As this situation continues to change, we are following the lead of other co-ops and food stores. For a list of frequently asked questions and actions that the Kootenay Co-op is taking, follow this link.

If you have any comments or suggestions, you can send Eric, our General Manager, a message. Thank you for your business and continued support for our community enterprise.  And thank you for helping us prevent the spread of the COVID-19 infection.