COVID-19 Updates from the Co-op

Dear community members,

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.

UPDATED July 1, 2020 at 1:00pm (new information in red)

Co-op Preparedness

The health and safety of our community is our number one priority at the Co-op. Our existing practices focus heavily on sanitation and food safety and we have increased our use of sanitizing agents across the stores, including implementing more frequent sanitation of check-out areas, baskets and carts, and door handles. We have also worked with our distributors to increase our standard orders of shelf stable items to ensure that we are able to best meet the needs of our community as they prepare for a variety of situations. That said, we have experienced minimal supply chain interruptions and may continue to see this as demand increases across the areas that our distributors service. We will do our best to keep our community informed of any out of stock items and will actively seek alternatives when possible.

Staff Appreciation Bonus

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

Update to Return Policy

Starting Monday, July 6th we will be accepting product returns at our stores. We will reinstate our original return policy with additional sanitation measures for any restocked product. 

Reusable Bags

Effective July 1, Vermont’s Single-Use Product Law (Act 69) goes 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!

New Permanent Hours

Starting Sunday, June 21, we will be permanently changing 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. We look forward to seeing you all soon!

Call-In Sandwich Orders

Starting Monday, June 22, the deli will 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.

Tips to know:

  • Sorry, no custom breakfast sandwiches, but we do have pre-made options at our Hot Bar.
  • Bagel sandwiches available on plain bagels only.
  • In-person ordering is not available, but we hope to get back to those soon!

Want a sandwich right away?

Pre-made sandwiches are available at our Hot Bar and Grab 'n' Go Cooler.

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. 

Bottle Redemption

Bottle redemption will resume on June 22 at both store locations. 

Special Order Policy

Effective Thursday, June 4, we will start 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.

Glove Use Encouraged in Bulk

Glove use is encouraged when using bulk gravity bins, coffee grinders, and other high-contact surfaces. We appreciate your understanding as we adjust our offerings in Bulk to ensure the safety of our staff, customers, and Members. Please see a staff member with any questions.

Customer Face Coverings

As we continue to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, customers, and Members, we've made the decision to require face coverings for all customers upon entrance to our stores as of Wednesday, May 6. We understand that this may pose challenges for some, and want to assure you that we will have single-use coverings available for anyone who does not have an alternative. Additionally, our friends from the City will be set up throughout this week giving out free masks!

A HUGE thank you to the BTV Community Mask Initiative for their efforts to provide all Burlington residents with free masks! They’ve produced and distributed over 12,000 masks to date. 

Customer Limits

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 in the store will be 50 at both locationsWe'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.

Employee Face Coverings

In light of recent changes in recommendations regarding face coverings in public, we will be requiring all employees to wear a face covering on the sales floor as of Sunday, April 19th. Thanks to Burlington's Community Mask Initiative & Vermont Glove for helping us to ensure all of our employees are covered.

Learn more about how the City is working with community partners to provide masks for essential workers at https://www.burlingtonvt.gov/covid-19/masks

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

Agreement Reached: Staff Appreciation Bonus

We are pleased to share that the UE Local 203’s Executive Board and our Management Team reached a MOU around additional staff compensation during the current state of emergency. The two parties agreed to an appreciation bonus that amounts to $120 per week for 40 hours worked (prorated based on hours worked). Bonuses will be retroactively applied back to March 15 and paid weekly to staff. We want to thank the Union Executive Board and Management Teams and more broadly, our entire staff for their incredible efforts these past few weeks. There is no doubt that these are trying times and we’re hopeful that we can continue to work together as we navigate changes to operations and our evolving role as a community resource. We will continue to work to provide a safe and welcoming space for our staff, customers, and Members that embodies our cooperative spirit. Click here for further details.

Directional Signage

Starting Saturday, April 11th we will be implementing one-way directional signage across our stores to ease the flow of traffic, reduce congestion, and further enhance social distancing among staff and customers.

Home Delivery & NEW Curbside Pickup

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

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.

Additional Security Added

We have hired an outside security firm to provide additional safety support during this time. Starting Tuesday, March 31, there will be onsite security at both store locations to help with traffic and overall store security.

Bulk Department Updates

We will be removing all products from bins requiring a scoop or tongs and transitioning many of those items to pre-packaged. These items will be clearly labeled and priced to help relieve any confusion. 

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. 

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.

Designated Morning Shopping Hour

The suggestion to provide an early morning shopping hour for older adults and immune compromised individuals has been proposed by a variety of individuals, demonstrating one of the many ways that our community has continued to demonstrate its capacity for kindness and care in moments of distress.

While we do not want to turn anyone away, recognizing the importance of access to resources at this critical time, we will be designating 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 will be implementing this change as of store opening on Friday, March 20th. We’d 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.

Click here to read the full statement.

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 Discontinued

Staff are now serving coffee in to-go cups only. Single-serve creamers and sweeteners are available. 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.

Classes & Events

The health and safety of our community is our top priority at the Co-op. After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to pause our educational programming 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 classes and events scheduled through April and refunding all attendees who have previously purchased tickets. Before the start of May, we will reassess the situation and communicate around plans for May offerings. We appreciate your understanding at this time and want to assure you that we are taking every measure across our stores to ensure the safety of our customers, Members, and broader community. Thank you for your understanding.

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

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.

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 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.

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.