To Our Community,
In case you have missed any of my blog posts lately, today I would like to briefly catch you up on several important topics. Yes, including masks!
Last week we introduced our COVID Policy Dashboard. The goal of this is transparency. We want you to know all the policies under review and the latest on any status updates.
You can obtain our most current policies by visiting our COVID Policy Dashboard.
As the states and towns in which we operate loosen their mask restrictions, we will follow suit and rescind our mask mandates for shoppers effective July 1, 2021.
The decision to wait until July 1, 2021 is based on the following reasons:
- This period of time provides all individuals – employees, members and shoppers, the opportunity to become vaccinated if they have not already.
- This period of time provides those who are vaccinated but immuno-comprised the opportunity to take extra precautions.
- This period of time provides families with small children who cannot be vaccinated the opportunity to make arrangements before their children enter the store.
- This period of time provides us the opportunity to track any material increase in COVID cases in the UV that may arise once masks are no longer being worn, this includes the Delta variant.
- Our deliberate approach is intended to reduce the potential for a reinstatement of our mask mandate. However, please be advised that we reserve our right and obligation to reinstate our mask mandate should there be a material increase in COVID-19 cases or as a result of the Delta variant, or any other variant, taking hold in the Upper Valley.
However, in an abundance of caution, we will wait to rescind the mask mandate for Co-op employees and vendors until we have reached an internal vaccination rate similar to our surrounding states. Then our employees can go without masks. Our employees continue to receive vaccines, so we look forward to the day the mask requirement is no longer necessary.
In the meantime, I respectfully and strongly urge all of our members and shoppers to continue to support the safety of employees and other shoppers, and remember to follow our social-distancing protocols when in our stores. Wearing a mask while you shop — even if you are fully vaccinated — is the cooperative way to protect our employees as they serve you.
Regarding vaccinations, at the Co-op our policy is to encourage, not mandate. As a result, we will be doing everything possible to facilitate vaccinations for any employee who is interested. Look for information soon about vaccination clinics on-site.
It is important to remember there is more to life at the Co-op than discussions about masks! I am happy to report that the Lebanon Upgrade project continues to move along on schedule. My thanks to the entire team who have worked so hard to keep this project on track. We are currently in the second phase of the project, which is to upgrade our HVAC system. Work will begin later this month and will continue for several weeks. The upgraded system will be far more energy efficient and will keep our store nice and comfortable for many years to come. Step three is all-new refrigerated cases, coming later this summer.
Reducing Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions
As I have written about before, our organization has pledged to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions over the next several years. Our end goal is to become carbon neutral. At this writing, work continues with Efficiency Vermont, an organization that helps companies increase their energy efficiency. We are currently working through a proposal that lays out a plan to attain net-zero emissions by 2030. I will keep you posted on this project each step of the way.
This Saturday, June 19th is Juneteenth. There will be a gathering and celebration held at Lyman Park from 3:30 to 5:30. Members of the Co-op Board of Directors, present and past, will be in attendance. More details on the day’s events and participants can be found here: https://youtu.be/Zv7r5j-1VyM.
My thanks to all of our members and shoppers, and please reach out to me anytime with questions or concerns. Remember to be kind to one another and to yourselves. We look forward to serving you in our stores and at the curbside.
Onward and upward,