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Answering your Questions About COVID-19 and the Co-op
Our members are rightly concerned about the Novel Coronavirus, now known as COVID-19, and have asked how the virus is affecting the Co-op. Stay tuned to this page for regular updates.
Latest Information: Thursday, May 7
Meat Supply Update
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic the meat industry is experiencing major supply disruptions and increased consumer demand. Here at the Co-op we are seeing commodity beef prices increase significantly and some beef and pork items are not available for us to order. When shopping at the Co-op you should expect to see higher than usual prices on Choice and Natural grades of beef.
You will also find that some of these items as well as commodity pork items are out of stock. However because of the relationships we have built with local farmers and distributors we expect to have a strong supply of Vermont and New Hampshire raised beef and pork available for you.
We will continue to keep an eye on commodity beef and pork pricing and availability and will lower our prices and bring these products in again when we can.
For more information regarding which products you can expect to find in our stores, please visit our Supply Chain webpage.
Made-to-Order Lunches Resume at Co-op Market
Starting today, freshly made lunches are available at the Co-op Market. Lunches are now available Monday thru Friday, 11 am–3 pm. These are available by calling in only. To place your order follow the following steps:
- Select from our list of menu items.
- Call (603) 643-5252 to place your order
- A staff member will let you know how long until your order is ready for pick-up
- Orders will be labeled with your name at the sandwich counter,
- Simply grab your food and pay at the register
Customer FAQs About COVID-19
Listed below are a few of the most common questions we are being asked about COVID-19 and the Co-op.
What are you doing extra for your employees during this time?
Wonder what we offer our awesome employees? Here's a super-quick overview.
Benefits: More than 80 percent of Co-op employees work full-time, with industry-leading benefits. This is in direct contrast to many large food retailers, who offer mostly part-time jobs with no benefits.
Time Off: Our employees have generous paid time off banks they can use if they become ill. We have also made it possible for many employees to take advantage of federal programs and our own new COVID-specific policies so they can afford to stay home and stay healthy.
Essential Employee Bonuses: Employees received a $300 bonus in March for going above and beyond the call of duty. In April, employees will also receive an additional short-term bonus of $2 per hour for every actual hour worked. The bonus will cover two consecutive pay periods.
Lunch: Everyone's favorite non-monetary benefit! We provide lunch to employees in all locations one day each week. We order from a wide variety of restaurants so we can support our colleagues in the local business community. (Thanks, awesome Upper Valley restaurants!)
Will Co-op employees be wearing face masks?
In response to member and employee requests, beginning Wednesday, April 15, all Co-op employees will be required to wear a mask. This applies to employees at all Co-op locations, including those working in administrative offices. This policy follows recommendations from the CDC and the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.
General guidelines are:
- The mask must remain in the employee’s possession while at work.
- The mask should not be placed on any Co-op surface if removed.
- If the mask is placed on a Co-op surface, that surface must be thoroughly cleaned.
- Masks are never to be disposed of at work.
- Carry it in, carry it out.
We have a detailed SOP around the use of masks, which has been shared with all employees.
How are you keeping prepared food safe?
We're looking at many different ways we can change our operations to best serve the community during this stressful time. Our leadership team meets every morning to explore opportunities like this one. So, no idea is off the table, including this one.
Co-op employees must follow a strict set of standard operating procedures while handling products and have all been briefed again at this time on detailed directives on hand washing, hand sanitizers, product considerations, and guidelines for preventing foodborne illness and the spread of infection.
We encourage customers to follow food safe practices at home, including increased hand washing before and after preparing food, sanitizing surfaces and utensils after each use, and cooking foods to proper temperatures
Will you be offering home delivery of food?
We’re currently looking at the resources we’d need to implement a grocery delivery service. Currently, we're experiencing record high volume, and our first priority is simply making sure our shelves are stocked as best we can. That’s said, we want to ensure that should we offer a curbside pickup service we are able to sustain the service for our valued members.
Our leadership team meets every morning to explore opportunities like this one. The goal is how to best serve our community during these stressful times. So, no idea is off the table, including this one.
Can you provide curbside pickup of groceries?
Members, our popular curbside pickup program is easy, convenient, and you can shop online! We offer more than 500 products and the list is growing weekly. Prices are the same as in stores. Shop online and pickup your items curbside Tuesday—Saturday, 9 am–4 pm. >>Learn More
Will you be adjusting your store hours?
You spoke, we listened. Effective Thursday, April 9th, we will be adjusting store hours to enable you to have more time to stock the shelves and allow for greater social distancing.
Specifically, our four stores will open at 8 am. Our high risk shoppers as determined by the CDC will see their time to shop extended by 30 minutes. They will now have the store hours of 8 am to 9:30 am dedicated to them. This will enable them to move around the store in a less hurried and crowded fashion. Store closing hours will remain at 6 pm for Hanover, White River and CCM, and 9 pm at Lebanon. Once again, the last hour is reserved for our first responder shoppers.
How are you keeping your employees safe?
Our leadership team is meeting daily to discuss what precautions should be taken to keep our employees and other community members safe during this very stressful time. The leadership team is in daily communication with store employees and talking one-on-one with employees in the store to gage how they are feeling and what steps can be taken to help better support our employees.
We couldn't be more thankful for the amazing hard work and effort in going above and beyond our employees have done over these past two weeks. It has been a tough and stressful time for our teams and they've been amazing.
How are you encouraging social distancing in your locations?
We will be placing special indicator signs on the throughout our locations on the floor. These help mark the recommended 6-foot distance to keep between yourself and another shopper. We are also installing plexiglas shields at the checkout to help provide additional distance through a smaller space.
Below are recommendations on what you can do to help social distancing measures while grocery shopping.
- Do not come to the Co-op if you are symptomatic of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath).
- Please reserve the first hour of business 8-9:30 a.m. for high-risk shoppers and the last hour 8-9 p.m. for essential persons (Lebanon Store Only)
- Maintain a six-foot distance from others.
- Shop efficiently and if you must socialize, please do it outdoors.
- Consider ways to minimize shopping trips for your neighbors and family.
- Shop solo, including without children to the extent possible.
- Cover your cough/sneeze, wash hands often, use sanitizer, and try to touch only the products you purchase.
What are your return policies during this time?
Any product purchased at the Co-op may be returned within 30 days of purchase at any of our locations.
Until further notice, all returned items are being discarded and will not be returned to the shelf. If we are made aware of a potential return via phone or email, we are asking customers not to bring the item(s) into the store.
Is the Co-op accepting glass milk bottle returns?
Yes! We are still accepting glass milk bottle returns. Though, instead of putting these on the belt, we're asking that you let your cashier know how many bottles you're returning and then you can place them in the crates near our registers to send back to the farms. We've modified the program so we can continue to keep employees and customers safe while also continuing to support our local farms
Additional COVID-19 Links
Nourish. Cultivate. Cooperate.