COVID-19 Updates from the Co-op

Dear Community Members,

As we continue to navigate the many challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, we wanted to take a moment to share with all of you what to expect as a member of the community if an employee at the Co-op tests positive for COVID-19. Our priority as outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (listed below) is identifying and informing any close contacts. Once all potential close contacts have been identified, our next priority is informing our 300+ person Co-op staff. Next, we will post publicly on this page and share with all of you. We recognize that may lead to a delay in receiving information, but we are committed to sharing information as quickly as we can so that everyone has access to accurate information. If you have any questions about this process or feedback, please reach out to our General Manager, John Tashiro at JTashiro@citymarket.coop.

 

UPDATE FEBRUARY 14, 2021

We are happy to share that our Downtown Store will be open for regular hours on Monday, 2/15 from 7am-10pm. At this time, all close contacts of the employee who tested positive continue to follow DOH guidelines around quarantine and testing. We will continue to share COVID-19-related updates on this page and will follow our “Positive Case Protocol” outlined below. Thank you for your patience and understanding these past few days!

UPDATE FEBRUARY 13, 2021

Update 2:00pm 2/13/21: After reviewing various scenarios and communicating with our staff, we have decided to close the Downtown Store through Sunday, 2/14. All employees will be paid for scheduled shifts between 12:30 pm on Saturday, 2/13, and those on Sunday, 2/14. Please note, the South End store will be open regular hours of 7am-9pm on both 2/13 & 2/14. We will continue to share updates here. We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding!

Update: After receiving numerous inquiries around today's update, we wanted to clarify a few things about this particular situation. We have notified the public of positive cases and have outlined our positive case protocol on our website here (https://www.citymarket.coop/covid-19). After reviewing footage and identifying close contacts in the late evening hours on Friday, 2/12 (after 10pm) it became clear that operating our Downtown Store today (Saturday, 2/13) would not be possible due to gaps in staffing in key positions. To be clear, this closure is not due to safety concerns around further exposure, but is a result of a particularly unique staffing issue associated with the close contacts of this staff person. All close contacts have been notified and are following DOH guidelines to quarantine and get tested. We will continue to update our staff and community should there be concern around further spread, at this time that is not the case. Staff who were not impacted as close contacts were asked to report to work as usual on Saturday to continue operations as the risk was limited to close contacts. Please know, we are navigating this situation as best we can with the information provided and guidance offered by the Vermont Department of Health.  

Due to unforeseen circumstances associated with a positive case amongst our staff, our Downtown Store will be closed to the public Saturday, 2/13/21. We apologize for the inconvenience and are committed to reopening safely and swiftly. Our South End Store will be open regular hours of 7am-9pm. Please know that we are working tirelessly to continue to provide for our community and support our staff during this uniquely challenging time. We will continue to share information with all of you. Please reach out to info@citymarket.coop with questions.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 5, 2021

Today, on Friday, February 5 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our South End Store. We immediately followed the steps outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined below) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified along with the broader Co-op staff. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the concerns around COVID-19 and its impact on our community. We take the health and safety of our Co-op community seriously, and want to assure you, our Members and customers that we are taking every step to ensure best practices during this time. We are closely monitoring the current COVID-19 outbreak and following the recommendations of the CDC, FDA, and Vermont Department of Health. Below is a general overview of how we are ensuring best practices across our stores. We will keep this page updated as new information arises.

UPDATE FEBRUARY 3, 2021

On Friday, January 29 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. We immediately began the steps outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (listed below) and prioritized determining any close contacts of this staff person, working under the guidance of the Vermont Department of Health and following the recommendations outlined in this document.

As directed by the Vermont Department of Health, we prioritized identifying and informing close contacts before sharing more broadly with our staff and community. While the risk of exposure is limited to individuals who qualify as close contacts, we want to be clear about our practices and policies moving forward. We remain confident in the safety protocols we have in place and appreciate the swift action of our team to minimize any further risk.

Positive Case Protocol

In the case of a positive test result of a Co-op employee, City Market follows the guidance of the Vermont Department of Health outlined in this document: Vermont Department of Health Guidance for Employers.

City Market uses a combination of shift logs, video footage, and other documentation to identify "close contacts." It’s important to note that contact tracing involves identifying individuals who meet the standard of close contact: being within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes in a 24-hour period. Contact more than 6 feet away and/or for less than a total of 15 minutes is not considered close. Because of established protocols within the store, the number of potential close contacts in any given situation should remain low.

In accordance with contract tracing guidelines and quarantine requirements, individuals who have had "close contact" with the individual are identified and contacted by the Department of Health with instructions on next steps.

Things to Know Before You Visit

Customer Face Coverings Required

We require face coverings that cover the nose and mouth for all customers ages 2 and older upon entrance to our stores. We understand that this may pose challenges for some, and want to assure you that we will have single-use cloth coverings available.

For those unable to visit the store, we encourage you to check out our Curbside/Delivery program.

New Permanent Hours

We have permanently changed our store hours to the following:

Downtown
Open 7am - 10pm every day

South End
Open 7am - 9pm every day

As your community owned co-op, we serve as a resource to thousands of people every day, offering resources, products and services that are critical to their health and well-being, as well as that of their families. In an effort to continue to fulfill that role and ensure that we are providing the greatest levels of access to the resources we offer, we have decided to permanently change our store operating hours. We will still be open daily, striving to provide the best customer service, access , and products, that you have grown accustomed to.

Designated Morning Shopping Hour

We have designated the 7-8am hour daily to adults 60 and older, immune compromised individuals, and those who identify as high risk to provide a shopping experience that best allows these individuals to practice proper social distancing. Typically, this hour represents the lowest volume of sales and traffic across our stores, offering ample space to shop for items and implement best practices around physical proximity.

We ask that community members with the flexibility to make their visits to the stores at a later hour do so whenever possible in order to provide this resource for those who qualify.

Sandwich Ordering Available for Call-In Only

The deli is now open for call in custom sandwich orders daily between 10am-4pm. For Downtown pickup, call 802-861-9704, and for South End pickup, call 802-540-6421. We’ll have your sandwich ready in about 30 minutes. For more details, visit our Deli page on our website. 

Reusable Bags Are Now Allowed

On July 1, Vermont’s Single-Use Product Law (Act 69) went into effect. This means that single-use plastic bags are no longer available at the registers. In compliance with the legislation, we are required to charge 10 cents per paper bag. Reusable bags are allowed and encouraged to use at both stores!

Reusable Containers 

As we continue to assess safety concerns and adhere to guidance set forth by the Department of Health and Vermont DEC, we have made an adjustment to our restrictions on outside containers. Coffee growler refills, kombucha growler refills, and Bulk containers are now allowed. We will continue to prohibit single-serve kombucha refills, coffee refills, and single-serve water bottles that individuals can drink directly from. We appreciate your cooperation and understanding. 

Return Policy

We are now accepting product returns at our stores. We will reinstate our original return policy with additional sanitation measures for any restocked product. 

Bottle Redemption

Bottle redemption has resumed at both store locations. 

While You Are Shopping at the Co-op

Customer Limits at Both Store Locations

We are limiting the number of customers allowed in the store at any given time to allow for proper social distancing. The maximum amount of customers allowed at our South End store is 60 and our Downtown store is 50. We've recently implemented a software system that will alert our staff when we are close to this limit. At that time, staff members will be at the entrance to facilitate queuing if and when the quota is reached. These limits will allow for safe distancing for customers and staff inside of our stores and represent less than 15% of our total allowed capacity for the space. Thank you for your understanding as we seek to ensure proper social distancing to increase safety measures for staff, customers, and Members.

Bulk Department Updates

We are now returning to self-serve bulk spices and teas. We still encourage the use of gloves, tissue paper or hand sanitizer when touching utensils, handles, lids or pencils. The biggest change is all about the scoops: When shopping, please use a separate scoop for each item. After each item is shopped for and bagged, put the used scoop in the bus bin. We are cleaning and sanitizing utensils after every use. We will be gradually adding back more bulk items that we all love shopping for including dried beans, pasta, lentils, and more, so stay tuned.

Directional Signage

We have implemented one-way directional signage across our stores to ease the flow of traffic, reduce congestion, and further enhance social distancing among staff and customers.

Hot/Cold Bar and Sandwiches Now Pre-Packaged

We have transitioned to pre-packaged items at our hot/cold bars to reduce the risk of contamination. Many of our signature sandwiches are now available pre-made at the hot/cold bars while our sandwich station is closed.

Self-Serve Coffee is Back

We are now offering self-serve coffee again at our coffee bar. Gloves, tissue paper and hand sanitizer are encouraged when making your selection. Personal reusable mugs may not be used at this time.

Café Seating Areas Closed

We have closed our café spaces at both stores in order to comply with social distancing recommendations.

Special Order Policy

We are now accepting Special Orders again. Supply chains and product availability from our distributors has begun to stabilize which will allow us to start taking Special Order requests from customers. 

Additional Gloves Available

Gloves are available for staff and customer use throughout our stores, particularly in these departments: Produce, Self-serve pastries and bagels, Check-out registers.

Keeping Our Customers & Staff Safe

Food Safety

Food safety is of the upmost importance at the Co-op. Our employees must follow a strict set of procedures when handling a wide variety of products from prepared foods to fresh items, and even packaged items across our different departments.

Many employees are ServSafe® certified, with the majority of our Prepared Foods department staff certified in the ServSafe® Protection Manager Certification Examination, a higher level certification offered by ServSafe®. ServSafe® is a highly regarded food-safety training program administered by the U.S. National Restaurant Association.

Employee Face Coverings

We require all employees to wear a face covering at all times inside our buildings unless they are eating or drinking. Thanks to Burlington's Community Mask Initiative & Vermont Glove for helping us to ensure all of our employees are covered.

Front End Updates

In an effort to provide additional safety measures where physical distancing options are limited, we've installed plexi-glass shields at all check-out registers. 

Increased Sanitizing & Cleaning

We have distributed extra sanitizer wipes throughout the store and staff workspaces to encourage increased surface cleaning. We have increased the frequency of surface cleaning by our Facilities teams in common areas, to include handrails, door handles, carts, baskets, etc.

Home Delivery & Curbside Pickup

Please click here for the latest information about our Home Delivery and Curbside Pickup service.

Staff & Community News

Staff Appreciation Bonus

For information about staff appreciation bonuses during COVID-19, please refer to this page.

Employee Wellness

We understand that ensuring the health and wellness of our Co-op staff is integral to ensuring the health and wellness of our broader community. That said, in addition to reminding our staff of proper sanitation and handwashing techniques, as well as continuously updating communication around COVID-19, we offer generous Paid Time Off (PTO), and encourage employees to err on the side of caution should any concern over well-being arise.

At the Co-op, employees are encouraged to use their paid time off, stay home, and reduce the spread of illness. Additionally, we offer a comprehensive benefits package with healthcare coverage for both part and full time employees, so employees are not making the difficult choice of choosing to forego a visit to the doctor’s office due to concerns over out of pocket expenses. At the Co-op, we have consistently emphasized the importance of a comprehensive approach to benefits, ensuring that our employees have access to high quality medical care as a part of their overall compensation package.

Classes & Events

We’re excited to be able to resume offering class programming to our community this summer, blending virtual events with socially-distanced in-person classes. We’ll be following strict protocols to ensure the health and wellbeing of our community members, instructors, and staff. For more information about our policies and to view our classes & events, visit our Events page on our website! 

Please contact City Market’s Assistant Outreach & Education Manager, Carrie Putscher with any questions at cputscher@citymarket.coop or (802) 861-9757. 

Local Farmers Carry On

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to pose challenges, local farmers are carrying on and ensuring Vermonters have access to local produce, dairy, meat, and more. Over the past number of weeks, we’ve witnessed farmers quickly adapt to this changing reality, adjusting their operations and finding creative ways to get local food to people. From increasing direct to consumer sales to working with food shelves and other non-profits, farmers have demonstrated what makes Vermont’s food system such an integral part of our community fabric. Here, we’ve gathered the stories of our resilient local farmers as we work together to strengthen our local food system during this challenging time.

Member Worker Orientations

After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to pause our member worker orientations due to heightened concern around COVID-19 and the recommendation to limit public gatherings as part of overall preventative measures. We will be canceling all orientations scheduled for the month of March. Before the start of April, we will reassess the situation and communicate around plans for April offerings. The health and safety of our community is our top priority at the Co-op. Thank you for your understanding.

Please contact City Market's Membership Manager, Caroline Aubry with any questions at caubry@citymarket.coop or (802) 861-9707.

April Update from our Board President, Faye Mack and General Manager, John Tashiro

Resources

We understand that there is a lot of uncertainty during this time and encourage our community members to review the resources below for the most up to date and comprehensive information available.

As always, we are happy to field questions or provide further clarity about our practices and appreciate your understanding as we navigate this evolving reality. Please reach out to our Assistant Director of Community Engagement, Mae Quilty at mquilty@citymarket.coop to share your thoughts. You can also reach us at 802-861-9753.