COVID-19 Updates from the Co-op

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Customer Face Covering Update

UPDATED DECEMBER 2, 2021

Starting December 3, 2021, the City of Burlington is implementing a city-wide mask mandate inside public buildings. As such, all individuals over the age of 2 are required to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth while inside our building regardless of vaccination status.

UPDATED AUGUST 13, 2021

Due to current COVID-19 transmission rates in Chittenden County, the CDC recommends that all individuals wear face masks while in public indoor spaces regardless of vaccination status. Please note: Face coverings are recommended but not required.

 

Operational Changes Timeline

A summary of events and operational changes made at City Market in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

DECEMBER 3, 2021

Burlington City-wide mask mandate implemented, requiring face coverings for staff and customers

 

JULY 6, 2021

Salad bar, in-person sandwich ordering, and indoor cafés fully re-opened

 

JULY 5, 2021

Customer capacity limits lifted at both stores

 

JUNE 14, 2021

Face coverings become optional for customers and staff

 

MARCH 17, 2021

Updated face covering policy in accordance with latest CDC guidelines

 

JANUARY 7, 2021

Air Purifiers added to shared office spaces and filtration system updated

 

JUNE 21, 2020

Store hours expanded

 

MAY 19, 2020

Counting software installed to assist with capacity monitoring

 

MAY 16, 2020

Implemented Door Greeter program sanitizing baskets and carts, offering masks, monitoring capacity

 

MAY 15, 2020

Implemented mandatory health screenings for staff and temperature checks upon arrival to work (in accordance with state guidelines)

 

MAY 6, 2020

Implemented mandatory face coverings for customers

 

APRIL 19, 2020

Implemented mandatory face coverings for staff

 

APRIL 7, 2020

Limited capacity to less than 20% at both stores

 

MARCH 29, 2020

Reduced store hours

 

MARCH 24, 2020

Plexi glass installed at registers

 

MARCH 13, 2020

State of Emergency Declared in VT

 

Things to Know Before You Visit

Updated Store Hours

As of Sunday, September 19, 2021, we have temporarily changed our store hours to the following:

Downtown
Open 7am - 9pm 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 temporarily 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.

Reusable Bags Are Now Allowed

On July 1, 2020, 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 more information became available around the transmission of Covid-19, we adjusted our restrictions on outside containers. As of May 2021, all reusable containers are allowed.

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 Lifted

As of July 5, 2021, our stores no longer have capacity limits in place.

During the height of the pandemic, we strategically utilized capacity limits as one tool to allow for safe distancing for customers and staff inside our stores. We implemented a software system that alerted us when we approached the limit and stationed staff at the entrance to facilitate queuing when the quota was reached. We purposefully set limits of less than 15% of our total allowed capacity for the space.

Bulk Departments Re-opened

Our bulk departments have now returned to self-serve without the need for single-use scoops.

During the pandemic, we adjusted our Bulk Department offerings to have many pre-packaged items and removed several fixtures. This kept popular items available in bulk while limiting contact with surfaces and facilitating social distancing. In August 2020, we partially re-opened Bulk by implementing a single-use scoop system.

Directional Signage Removed

One-way directional signage has been removed.

Another adjustment made during the pandemic included one-way directional signage across our stores. These arrows helped to ease the flow of traffic, reduce congestion, and further enhance social distancing among staff and customers.

Hybrid Hot/Cold Bar Re-opened

Our self-serve hot and cold bars have fully re-opened.

Self-serve food was one of the first things we adjusted at the beginning of the pandemic. We pivoted to offer many pre-packaged, to-go items to comply with COVID-19 guidance and best practices. In May 2021, we transitioned back to a hybrid model for our hot/cold bar with a selection of self-serve items. In July 2021, our salad bars were fully re-opened.

Custom Sandwich Ordering

In-person sandwich ordering has returned. Please click here for hours and menu.

During the pandemic, we offered pre-made sandwiches and call-in phone ordering. In-person sandwich ordered returned in July 2021.

Self-Serve Coffee is Back

We are now offering self-serve coffee again at our coffee bar. Gloves, tissue paper and hand sanitizer are available when making your selection. Personal mugs are allowed as of May 2021.

Café Seating Areas Re-opened

Our indoor and outdoor café seating areas have re-opened.

To comply with social distancing recommendations and rules about indoor dining, we closed our indoor seating areas during the pandemic. This also enabled us to create additional breakroom space for staff using that space. As of July 2021, indoor seating re-opened for customers.

Special Order Policy

We are now accepting Special Orders again.

We experienced supply chain and product availability disruptions towards the beginning of the pandemic. This created a challenge for fulfilling Special Orders. Once availability from our distributors began to stabilize, we began taking Special Orders again.

Additional Gloves Available

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

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

Face coverings are now required for employees.

During the pandemic, we followed local, state, and federal guidance around face coverings, including requiring all employees to wear face coverings at all times inside our buildings. Face coverings became optional in June 2021. In December 2021, face coverings became required by the City of Burlington. Thanks to Burlington's Community Mask Initiative & Vermont Glove for helping us to ensure all of our employees were covered during the pandemic.

Front End Updates

Plexi-glass shields at our check-out registers have been removed.

We utilized plexi-glass shields as an additional safety measure where physical distancing options were limited.

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 have resumed in-person, outdoor class programming. 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 emerged, local farmers carried on and ensured that Vermonters continued to have access to local produce, dairy, meat, and more. We 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. We gathered the stories of our resilient local farmers as we worked together to strengthen our local food system during a challenging time.

Member Worker Orientations

Member worker orientations are now offered virtually. For the latest information and a list of upcoming orientations, click here.

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

 

Positive Case Reports

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 NOVEMBER 24, 2021

On Wednesday, November 24 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. Because this employee was not at the store during their infectious period, there were no close contacts identified and no contact tracing was required. Our staff have been notified and we will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 20, 2021

On Saturday, November 20 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19. In this particular instance, the employee has not been physically in the building for over a week so no contact tracing was required. Our staff have been notified and we will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 18, 2021

On Thursday, November 18 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 on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified earlier in the day. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 13, 2021

Late on Friday, November 12 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 on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. As of Saturday morning, November 13th, all close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines. No customers are considered close contacts. All staff were notified this morning as well. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE NOVEMBER 6, 2021

On Saturday, November 6 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. Because this employee was not at the store during their infectious period, there were no close contacts identified and no contact tracing was required. Our staff have been notified and we will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward.

UPDATE OCTOBER 29, 2021

On Friday, October 29 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our South End Store. Because this employee was not at the store during their infectious period, there were no close contacts identified and no contact tracing was required. Our staff have been notified and we will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward.

UPDATE OCTOBER 24, 2021

On Sunday, October 24 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 on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified earlier in the day. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE OCTOBER 22, 2021

On Friday, October 22 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 on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified earlier in the day. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE OCTOBER 21, 2021

On Thursday, October 21 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. We immediately followed the steps outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified earlier in the day. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE APRIL 16, 2021

With high case numbers in Burlington, we are seeing an increase in positive cases as many members of our community are still at risk of infection as they await vaccine availability. On Friday, April 16th, we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. We immediately followed the steps outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines for quarantining and testing. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified in the late afternoon on April 16th immediately following the completion of contact tracing. We will continue to share updates of this nature on this page.

UPDATE APRIL 9, 2021

With high case numbers in Burlington, we are seeing an increase in positive cases as many members of our community are still at risk of infection as they await vaccine availability. Late on Friday, April 9th, we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. We immediately followed the steps outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines for quarantining and testing. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified late in the evening on April 9th immediately following the completion of contact tracing. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE APRIL 6, 2021

With high case numbers in Burlington, we are seeing an increase in positive cases as many members of our community are still at risk of infection as they await vaccine availability. On Tuesday, April 6 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. No close contacts at work were identified as the individual was not working in the store during their infectious period. We want to acknowledge that cases may be disclosed to us after an individual has already been quarantining due to close contact with someone outside of the Co-op. This may lead to no close contacts at work as we have seen in multiple instances. Regardless, the activities of this week have reminded us of the importance of remaining vigilant and we're hopeful that in the coming weeks and months, cases will continue to decrease. As noted in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined on this page), we notified our staff before sharing more broadly.

UPDATE APRIL 5, 2021

On Monday, April 5 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. This particular instance led to no close contacts being identified as the individual was not working during their infectious period. As noted in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined on this page), we notified our staff before sharing more broadly. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE APRIL 3, 2021

On Saturday, April 3 we were notified of a City Market employee testing positive for COVID-19 at our Downtown Store. We immediately followed the steps outlined in our Positive Case Protocol (outlined on this page) and prioritized informing any close contacts. All close contacts have now been notified and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines for quarantining and testing. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified immediately following the completion of contact tracing on Saturday afternoon. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

UPDATE MARCH 22, 2021

On Sunday, March 21 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 and are following Vermont Department of Health guidelines for quarantining and testing. No customers are considered close contacts. Our staff were notified immediately following the completion of contact tracing on Sunday evening after 10pm. We will continue to share updates of this nature with all of you moving forward and welcome any questions around the process.

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.

Once all close contacts have been notified, we notify all staff of the positive case and store location before sharing publicly.

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.