The pandemic continues to reverberate throughout the world, and yet BC has shown signs of flattening the curve through actions taken thus far. Physical distancing and the suspension of gatherings are making a difference and provincial health officials are cautiously optimistic about the trajectory of the virus in BC.
In previous articles, we’ve outlined the first round and second round of actions we have taken so far. These have been difficult and challenging for our staff and our customers. The good news is that we’re keeping our community safe while remaining functional. We are doing our best to follow the guidance from the BC CDC for grocery stores. Now is a critical time to ensure we’re all doing all that we can.
As a reminder, we are asking our customers to follow these important rules:
- Stay home if you are sick. We need to keep our staff healthy in order to serve you.
- Use hand sanitizer when entering the store. We have dispensers at both entrances.
- Follow social distancing protocols. These include staying at least two meters from others, avoiding contact with others, and washing your hands frequently.
- Do not bring returns or refunds back. We cannot risk bringing contaminated items back into our store. All sales are final. This includes bottle deposits.
- Do not bring personal bags or containers. Again, we cannot allow such items into our store for risk of contamination. The only exception right now is containers for bulk soaps.
- Minimize cash. For now, we encourage you to use cards instead of cash. At this time we have limited cash for our ATM as well.
- Take advantage of our grocery delivery and pick-up services. We are making these available to everyone (for a fee), and we are working on enhancements to our website to make the process better.
Finally, we continue to reserve the right to ask people to leave the store. The reason may be as simple as there are too many people in the store already – such requests are nothing personal.
As the situation evolves, we are continuing to do as much as possible for our staff. Here are some more actions we are taking on their behalf.
- We are paying sick or self-isolating staff the equivalent of EI benefits while they stay home. We felt that it is important to take care of our staff during these challenging times, and it seems the EI system isn’t ready to handle short-term (two week) gaps like this in a timely manner.
- We are paying bonuses to our staff for the work they’re doing now. While we’re still working on the details, we felt that our store staff deserve more recognition than ever at this time.
- We are working on our schedules to minimize the number of staff in the store at any given time. This has become quite a challenge that requires even more flexibility from our staff.
- We are trying to keep as many staff as possible working. While the store is busy, the cafe and bakery are not, and we’re looking for ways to keep these departments going.
Our approach continues to be to take reasonable action as recommended or required by government agencies. There are many questions about how “safe” grocery shopping is, but the risk is low if you follow some simple guidelines from the BC CDC and consider your personal situation and what works best for you.
Finally, we want to say thank you for your understanding and cooperation. Because of this, we are able to stay open for everyone. Our shelves are well-stocked, our staff are amazing, and our commitment to our community is as palpable amid all the uncertainty. We truly appreciate your help in these most challenging of times, and we thank you for your continuing support. Shopping local is now more important than ever – for the health of our community and the health of our planet.
If you have any comments or suggestions, you can send Eric, our General Manager, a message.
Truly appreciate all the staff keeping the store humming!