Summer is just about here, and we’re setting the scene for the sunny months to come. Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and all of the measures we have to follow, the summer scene will look and feel different than usual, but you’re still doing the right thing by supporting local, supporting our staff, and supporting the Co-op.
All businesses have to write and implement a COVID-19 Health and Safety Plan as outlined by WorkSafeBC. As a grocery store and cafe, we are following the requirements defined by the BC CDC and the latest requirements from the Order by the Provincial Health Officer in order to write our plan. We expect our plan to be fully ready by the last week of June after our Health and Safety Committee, our Supervisor Team, and the rest of our staff have had the chance to review and give input. By the end of the month, we will have it posted on our website and in the building for anyone to review.
For now, here are some of the important highlights you can expect as a customer for the duration of the summer:
- For both the Store and the Cafe, we will not allow anyone in who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, who has been exposed to COVID-19, or who has been out of the country in the past 14 days. We are setting up the spaces so that everyone can maintain physical distancing of six feet at all times, and we ask that you avoid bringing anything unnecessary into the building. Each side of the building has its own entrance and its own exit, and the door between the store and the cafe is closed. We ask that all groups of people be limited to two in order to avoid crowding. We have regular cleaning and sanitizing protocols in place.
- In the Store, we have a maximum limit of 10 people at a time (including staff on the floor). We now have a red light and green light at the entrance; if the store becomes too crowded, we’ll flip on the red light which lets people know to stay outside. We’ll turn on the green light and allow more people in once some have left. While waiting to check out, we have a line laid out in the middle aisle with spacing six feet apart. We do allow customers to bring their own bags, but our staff will not handle them, so customers will have to pack them with the groceries.
- In the Cafe, we have a maximum limit of 15 people at a time (excluding staff). We have two lines – one for ordering and one for picking up – and no inside seating. The lines ensure that people stay six feet apart. All food will be in to-go containers and we do not allow any personal mugs or other containers from home. We do allow outside seating on our covered front patio (15 people maximum), on our covered back porch (10 people maximum), and on the picnic tables throughout the property.
We are making our washrooms available to our customers. However, we only have one washroom open at a time in order to avoid crowding. We also have a sink on our front porch for washing hands and filling water bottles outside.
Although not required, we encourage everyone to use hand sanitizer when entering and/or exiting the building. Hand sanitizer is available at three of the doors. We also don’t mind if customers wear masks as the Federal government is now recommending. We do not require that our staff wear masks, but we have them available for all of our staff if we do deem them necessary. And we are preparing clear plastic shields at our tills in order to protect everyone.
Even though BC is doing really well in the face of this pandemic, remember that it’s the early actions we all took that are making the difference now. Now is the time to make sure we’re following these measures more closely than ever, and we don’t have to let them “ruin” our summer. In order to protect everyone on the island – full-time residents, part-time residents, and visitors from the rest of BC – let’s work together, play together, and stay safe together.