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

  | Covid-19

What you need to know about Shopping the Co-op during Covid-19:

  • August 27, 2021:
    • We want to inform you that a Co-op grocery employee tested positive for COVID-19. They were last at work on Monday, August 23. The staff member is quarantining at home, all close contacts have been informed, and are also being tested prior to return to work. From what we know of the situation, there is no reason to believe this case is associated with the earlier positive case announced on August 25th.We are in touch with the Department of Health, and are making sure that all employees have all the information they need for testing, vaccination, and quarantine protocols.

      Safety of our staff, our Shareholders, and our community continues to be our greatest priority. We have recently reinstituted a mask mandate in the store. Please abide by our mask requirement, wash your hands frequently, and consider avoiding large group gatherings to keep our community safe.

      For questions please email health@brattleborofoodcoop.coop.

  • August 25, 2021:
    • We want to inform you that a Co-op cashier tested positive for COVID-19. They were last at work on Saturday, August 21, and noticed a symptom consistent with the signs: loss of sense of smell. We typically sanitize each register area at the end of every shift, so all safety protocols were enforced. The staff member is quarantining at home and all close contacts have been informed and are also being tested prior to return to work. We are greatly relieved that all were vaccinated.We are in touch with the Department of Health, and are making sure that all employees have all the information they need for testing, vaccination, and quarantine protocols.Safety of our staff, our Shareholders, and our community continues to be our greatest priority. We have recently reinstituted a mask mandate in the store. Please abide by our mask requirement, wash your hands frequently, and consider avoiding large group gatherings to keep our community safe. For questions please email health@brattleborofoodcoop.coop  .
  • August 18, 2021:
    • On August 17, 2021 the Town of Brattleboro implemented a mask mandate for all indoor retail establishments. This is due to the “substantial” spread of the new Delta COVID variant in Windham county. As a community owned grocery store and deli that is a part of the Brattleboro community we will be complying with the Town mandate immediately. This mask mandate applies to both vaccinated and unvaccinated folks. We want to ensure that you have a safe place to shop for your groceries and we hope that as we enter the winter months this mandate can support the next level of safety for all. Masks are a level of safety that supported the Co-op during the past year and a half and we hope this allows us to keep life as normal as possible at the Co-op. The community room, kids room and cafe are currently open, but you will be expected to wear a mask when you are not eating.
  • August 12, 2021:
    • Please be advised the CDC has alerted us that Windham County is now at a substantial community transmission rate of Covid-19. Mask use is strongly recommended indoors, so please MASK UP when you shop at the Co-op. Thank You.
  • June 2021: Cafe is open.
    • Community room and kids room are in process of reopening too. Stay tuned for more details.
  • June 4, 2021: Mask Update.
    – As of June 4 the Town of Brattleboro has rescinded the town wide mask mandate. We will follow suit. While masks are no longer required at the Co-op please feel free to wear a mask if it makes you more comfortable. We wlll continue to provide masks at the door.
  • May 17: Summer hours begin. We will open one hour earlier Monday – Friday.
    • Hours will be: Monday – Saturday 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Sundays 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

  • April 26: Based on Guidance from the CDC stating that “there is little scientific support for routine use of disinfectants in community settings, whether indoor or outdoor, to prevent SARS-CoV-2 transmission…” and “Routine cleaning performed effectively with soap or detergent, at least once per day, can substantially reduce virus levels on surfaces.”
  • Thus we are now returning to our practice of utilizing vinegar to clean surfaces in the front end throughout the day, and will deep clean with sanitizer a couple of times a day.
  • Additionally, we have discontinued routine sanitizing of shopping carts with again a once daily vigorous sanitization practice.
  • March 30: – Curbside update:
    • We are excited to announce that we have expanded the number of ONLINE shopping spots available for Curbside Pickup to 10 per day. Yes. We increased the online spots from 4 to 10 each day. Online shopping for curbside pickup is powered by Mercato and is available Monday – Friday.
    • Please note we are taking unlimited orders via our phone lines 802 246 2800. Monday – Friday 7 am – 10 am. Remember curbside pickup is for next day pickup! Friday orders are for Monday pickup!

March Update: You can now bring your own containers and serve yourself in bulk. This applies to all sections of our bulk department. Please be sure your containers are clean.

 

  • Jan 26 Update:
        • Bulk packing Shareholder volunteer shifts once again available. For all details please visit our news post.
  • Jan 8 Update:
      • For the most recent information about COVID-19 and the Co-op please click here for an update.
  • Jan 5 Update:
      • If you are unable to wear a mask please use our curbside pickup program.
      • https://www.brattleborofoodcoop.coop/shop/curbside/
      • Shareholder bagging in the Front End has ended.
  • Dec 11 Update:
    • Update to personal reusable bags and containers policy:
      • YES! Reusable bags for bagging.
      • YES! Produce: Containers and bags
      • YES! Bulk: Containers and bags.
      • NO! Deli: Mugs and or reusable containers.

We value our staff and our customers at the Co-op. We are doing everything possible to ensure a safe working and shopping environment for everyone. Please read the following information before coming to shop at the Co-op.

Currently the store is open for walk-in hours every day from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Curbside service is available Monday – Friday. Click here for details.

ALL of us play a CRITICAL ROLE in keeping our community safe. For the sake of EVERYONE’s health, please follow the guidelines we have in place while shopping at the Co-op.

  • Store Occupancy statement: While the Coop is considered an essential business, and as such is not required by the State of Vermont to limit our occupancy, we believe that it is in everyone’s best interest to at times limit our occupancy. At our busiest, we limit the number of people inside the store at one time. Our goal in this practice is to make it possible for our customers and our staff to be able to safely follow physical distancing guidelines and to reduce unnecessary queues and congestion inside the store. Queues may be formed at the front door for just a moment or two to allow people to clear the front door ways or to allow the Front End to clear their lines and they could also last for much of the day during peak shopping days/hours. As many things can impact the ‘business’ inside the store, we will continue to react to the real-time conditions inside the store in making these decisions. We appreciate your patience as we do our best to provide a safe shopping and working environment for our community.
  • The Deli has a staff member designated to sanitize common use areas (handles, knobs, faucets, etc) every hour per shift. This is done at both the deli counter work areas and the commissary kitchen work areas.
  • Community Room will continue to be closed.
  • In-Co-op Shareholder volunteer hours are limited to Bulk department. You can read more about that here.
  • You may consider doing some of your Shareholder volunteer hours at a local organization. Click here for more info.
  • Face masks mandatory.
  • We no longer allow staff or shoppers to wear Face Shields based on CDC guidance: “It is not known if face shields provide any benefit as source control to protect others from the spray of respiratory particles.”
  • If you forget your face mask we have some at the front entrance for you.
  • Keeping everyone safe through our knowledge and attention to food safety at the registers:
    • Wait @ 6 foot marker to be called to the register to place your purchases on the belt, because between each customer your cashier is sanitizing the bagging area.
    • We sanitize every cart that is returned to the Co-op.
    • Please refrain from touching the employees or skirting around the Plexiglas barriers.
    • Employees are sanitizing hands in between customers. There are sanitizing stations at the entrance and near the Bulk department for customer use. Employees are also taking frequent breaks for hand washing. Please be patient.
      • Because of the possibility of spreading the virus through contact, we have temporarily discontinued the Bag A Bean program
      • To Go Utensils are now located at a free standing table near register one to prevent cross-contamination (we used to have them available at each register).
  • Be attentive to staff and other shoppers while you are shopping; maintain a six-foot distance from others at all times.
  • If you are symptomatic (fever, cough, shortness of breath), do not come into the Co-op. You may be able to do your shopping via Curbside pickup. We are applying the same rules to our employees.
  • We understand there are multiple reasons to sneeze or cough that are not related to Covid. Cover your cough/sneeze, wash hands, use sanitizer, and try to touch only the products you purchase.
  • Shop solo if possible (without the kiddies when possible).
  • We know the Co-op is a community meeting place, however, during this pandemic, we ask you to socialize outdoors.
  • The Café is closed till further notice; all prepared food has been pre-packed, and the Deli staff will be happy to pack your favorite Deli case foods to go.
    • The community room and the kids room remain closed as well.
  • You may bring and pack your own grocery bags if you like. Do not use them to shop; please keep them packed away until after you have checked out. You will also need to bag your own groceries. Paper bags now cost 10¢ each, but we have piles of boxes ready for your use which are free to use.
    • Do not bring refillable/reusable containers. Not for bulk and not for to-go deli drinks.
    • Do not use ANY reusable bag, basket, or container you bring with you to shop! Use an open cart and pack your bags after checking out.
    • Bring your bottles and returnables. We now take them at checkout.
  • There are no tastings or samplings during this time, nor are we hosting any food-related events or classes until we deem it safe to do so.
  • Consider using our free touch-free Curbside Pick-up service instead of coming inside the Co-op: https://www.brattleborofoodcoop.coop/shop/curbside-pickup/

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

Please keep tuned to Social Media for more updates:

https://www.facebook.com/BrattleboroFoodCoop

https://www.instagram.com/brattleborofoodcoop/

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.

Supplies

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 shareholders@brattleborofoodcoop.coop.