Answering your Questions About COVID-19 and the Co-op

  | BFC Newsflash, Covid-19, Curbside Pickup

Answering your Questions About COVID-19 and the Co-op: 

Our Shareholders are rightly concerned about the Novel Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, and have asked how the virus is affecting the Co-op. Stay tuned to this page for regular updates.

Shopper Code of Conduct:

Just a reminder that we all play a critical role. For the sake of everyone’s health, we ask that you follow these guidelines while doing your walk-in store shopping:

  • Maintain a six-foot distance from others.
  • Do not come to the Co-op if you are symptomatic of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
  • Shop efficiently and socialize outdoors.
  • Shop solo, including without children to the extent possible.
  • Use Curbside Pick-up instead of coming in the Co-op:
  • Cover your cough/sneeze, wash hands, use sanitizer, and try to touch only the products you purchase.
  • Face coverings are mandatory for both staff and shoppers while inside the Co-op.
  • Deli is now re-open with the following stations:
    • Brick oven pizza
    • Smoothie and Juice bar
    • Sandwiches
    • Grab and Go Food
    • Cold case – food by the pound

For the safety of our community and increased concerns with  COVID-19  here are our most current updates.

June 16th:

  • Starting June 22nd we will resume accepting 5 cent redemptions for cans and bottles. This is available at any register.

June 5th:

  • Re-usable bags are allowed in store for use during checkout. Please bag your own groceries.

June 4th:

  • Bulk re-usable containers and jars are still not allowed for bulk items.
  • The Deli does not accept re-usable mugs and containers.
  • Re-usable produce bags are not permitted.

May 26th:

  • New Store hours:
    • Walk-in Shopping Hours:
      • Mon-Fri 11-7pm
      • Sat & Sun 9am-7pm
    • Call Curbside Service Hotline @ 802-246-2800
      • Available Monday – Friday from 7am – 10am
        • Call Monday – Thursday for next day pickup
        • Call Friday for Monday pickup
      • There is no Curbside service on Saturdays or Sundays

May 14th:

  • Brattleboro Food Co-op has made face coverings mandatory for both staff and shoppers while inside the Co-op. We have face coverings available for use as you enter the store. We wear a mask for you; thank you for wearing a mask for us!

April 30th:

  • VT Governor Scott EXECUTIVE ORDER 01-20 states: “Customer and General Public Mask Use. Customers and the public in general, are encouraged to wear cloth face coverings any time they are interacting with others from outside their households.”
  • VERMONT OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY AND HEALTH ADMINISTRATION (VOSHA) states: “Businesses shall ask Customers, and the public in general, to wear face coverings any time they are interacting with others from outside their household.”

April 20th:

  • Truckload Sale for May has been cancelled.
  • Fresh Deals and In Store Flyer are postponed for April and May.
  • Curbside orders have been increased to 20 total items.
  • We are actively seeking volunteer opportunities in the community for Working Shareholders to replace those volunteer hours not available in the Co-op.
  • Dottie’s Discount Foods will be closed on Sundays effective immediately.

April 13th:

  • Bag a Bean, Demos/Tastings and Community Events Suspended through May.

April 8th:

April 3rd:

  • Shopper traffic has been quite heavy at 2 p.m. when we open. Consider delaying your trip until a few hours later when we have less shoppers at the Co-op.  This will support more effective social distancing and still allow you to shop for your groceries.

March 30th:

  • We will not be offering an April Sales Flyer and we have postponed our one day Bulk Sale that was going to happen April 22nd.  We hope to offer a May sales flyer and a makeup date on the one day bulk sale. Stay tuned.

March 25th:

  • We are separating the hours of curbside and in-store hours for customers to continue to protect our staff.
  • Walk-in store hours starting March 26th is 2 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Curbside pickup is expanding hours from 8 a.m. –  2 p.m.
    • 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. are same day pickup
    • 12 p.m. – 2 p.m. are next day pickup
    • We will call starting at 9 a.m. the day after you order to take payment and let you know when order is ready for pickup
  • We are currently working on a solution for milk container drop-offs outside but you can still do drop-offs of milk containers in store if you stop in to shop.

March 23rd:

  • We have suspended the use of re-usable bags, jars, and containers from the Co-op for the time being.
  • Please do not bring in any plastic bags for recycling.

March 20th:

  • We are beginning to limit the number of customers in the Co-op to ensure we are practicing social distance. Please be ready to wait in line when you arrive at the Co-op to shop. Please consider Curbside pick-up.

March 19th:

March 18th:

  • To protect our staff we prefer cards for payment now including EBT, WIC, Credit, and Debit.
  • All pre-orders and special-orders are suspended until further notice.  All those placed in the past few days we have on file and will order as supply and deliveries normalize.
  • Effective immediately, reusable/reused bags are NOT allowed until further notice.
  • If shoppers do bring own bags please help Co-op staff by bagging your own groceries when using shopping bags from home.
  • Please utilize social distancing while at the Co-op.
  • All Shareholders signed up for hours in March will get credit for those hours.

March 17th;

  • Effective immediately, no outside mugs, containers are allowed until further notice.
  • Food Safety occurring at check-out:
    – Sanitizing the bagging area and pin pad between each transaction
    – Making sure not to touch our faces
    – Sanitizing hands in between customers
    – Taking frequent breaks for handwashing
    – Prohibiting cashiers from coming to work if they feel sick in any way
    – Discontinuing bag a bean to limit touching
    – Removing silverware from the registers to prevent customer cross-contamination
    – Removing the give a penny take a-penny-containers. Same reason.
    – Other cashiers are wearing gloves as is any staff that feels the need. We have gloves available for everyone in store.

March 15th:

  • Performing Shareholder hours in the Co-op are suspended.
  • We have suspended all tastings, events, and community room bookings. We continue to evaluate the situation and will resume these happenings when it is deemed safe for our community.
  • We will offer only to-go orders from the Deli, no self-service hot bar, cold bar or soup bar.
  • The Cafe and Kids Room are closed.
  • March 17th – April 6th our interim hours will be 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.

If you have any health-related questions in regards to COVID-19 and the Co-op please send direct them to the following email:

Please keep tuned to Social Media for more updates:


About the Virus

For complete information, visit this excellent and frequently updated page from our friends at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

About the Co-op’s Response

We have many procedures already in place to help protect the safety of our employees, members, and shoppers—procedures we rely on to reduce the spread of foodborne illness and seasonal colds and flu every year. Learn more below.

The Virus and Food

According to the Harvard Health Blog, it’s not clear if the virus can spread through food. Even if so, it would be highly unlikely. Regardless, health officials cannot absolutely rule out the possibility of transmission from infected food handlers.

Food Safety at the Co-op

The Co-op’s food-safety program is the among best in the business.

Our employees must follow a strict set of standard operating procedures when handling products.

Many employees are ServSafe® certified. ServSafe® is a highly regarded food-safety training program administered by the U.S. National Restaurant Association. Many Co-op employees have the same level of certification as the managers of major restaurants.

In short, no employee goes near the Co-op’s prepared foods or other products without extensive training on how to handle the products properly and safely.

We have also placed CDC announcements up in bathrooms and around the Co-op about how to stop the spread of germs.

Employee Benefits and Sick Time

Co-op employees receive good benefits and are encouraged to use their paid time off, stay home, and reduce the spread of illness.


We know you’re hearing stories about grocery stores running out of food and household needs as consumers horde the essentials. One of our strengths is we source from multiple suppliers and don’t pull from a central warehouse. Therefore we have multiple avenues for securing products even when there are gaps in availability.

Trustworthy Resources

The internet is full of misinformation, and social media channels thrive on hyperbolic language. One of the best things you can do is to stay informed with accurate information. We suggest the following, recommended by Harvard Medical School:

For regular news, trust sources with deep, award-winning health reporting. We suggest:

Work with Us

Finally, we ask all of our members, shoppers, and employees to partner with us in this. No matter how many food-safety protocols we may have in place, we can’t control shoppers who might come to the store sick or handle packages with germs on their hands. WHO has great advice here on how to be responsible in order to protect yourself—and by extension your community—from the virus.

Learn More

More thoughts or questions? Reach out anytime. Call us at (802) 257-0236 or email