As you well know, the governor has indicated that the reopening phase will be accelerated, with the numbers of those vaccinated reaching an acceptably high percentage.
We have long said that the initial herky-jerky moves that we all made to protect ourselves and each other from virus transmission, though difficult and confusing, wouldn’t come close to the difficulty of emergence. Now, conflicting messages and even conflicting ordinances have served to sow apprehension among businesses as we all prepare to navigate the transition ahead.
Before I say more, I want to very loudly and clearly thank our staff for their conscientious and careful adherence to all of the measures we put in place to keep our workplace safe for them and also for you. And when I checked in with them as we prepared to shift our expectations once again for this new phase, they continued to be supportive and thoughtful. We had very few staff members contract the virus or be exposed to others who had, and we had no spread. That is nothing short of a miracle.
So, once the local mask ordinance is lifted, we will follow suit, recommending mask use to all who would feel more comfortable utilizing a mask, but not requiring it. We will not lift that requirement until the Town of Brattleboro has done so, in solidarity with all downtown businesses. We remind you that curbside service is alive and well, and that we have continued to upgrade our online Mercato ordering platform to make that even easier to use and more complete.
We will continue to enhance our outdoor-seating options with additional tables, although the plan is for the café to reopen, as stated, in early July, after indoor contact-tracing requirements are lifted. We are adding a counter seating area in front of some of the windows for single patrons, and moving the amenities around, such as the recycling and trash bins, to allow for easier and more convenient use. The musicians’ area will be in a new locale (and won’t that be a wonderful thing to hear once again!).
We have received many positive comments on our efforts thus far, and that has been very nice. The lower counter at the Customer Service/Express area has been a lovely and long-awaited facet of this project. A big thank-you is in order for all who have worked so hard to make this change happen in our store, in particular Daniel, Caz, and Adam from the Facilities department.
We will celebrate the café reopening on social media and in the store, so look out for our announcements!
In the meantime, please practice kindness and safety with each other. We all have different ways of dealing with this pandemic as the situation shifts, and we will navigate that as best we can. We continue to pay close attention to the situation, and if the numbers change, or if we experience changes in perception of safety in our store, we will address our protocols at that time. In the meantime, please enjoy the return to good weather in our beautiful surroundings, and take care of one another.
See you in the aisles!
By Sabine Rhyne, General Manager