A Letter from the Co-op General Manager
To our cooperative community,
Late last week, Vermont Gov. Phil Scott announced that the state was taking its first steps toward a “phased re-opening” of the Vermont economy, meaning a gradual reduction in some of the restrictions that have had such a profound impact on the local business community. Across the river in New Hampshire, state officials are also carefully looking toward the future, discussing the salient details of how to phase in changes moving forward.
Obviously all of this will have a great impact on our business. Like most people, at the Co-op we are cautiously optimistic about taking steps in this direction. We believe that relaxing social-distancing measures must be handled slowly, wisely, and measuredly. As officials in our home states plan their next steps, I wanted to let you know how this will impact the Co-op.
Vermont’s latest order directs any business in the state to implement a variety of specific health, sanitation, and social distancing measures. These measures require employees to wear face coverings for nose and mouth. It also requires all employers to provide—and all employees to complete—training on these requirements by May 4.
The good news is that this is nothing new to us. Most of the new recommendations are things we have been doing already. Furthermore, our employees are already highly trained in food safety protocols, cleaning, and social distancing.
To review some of the more pertinent details:
- Remember that we ask all members and shoppers to follow the same health and safety practices being followed by Co-op employees, including wearing a mask at all times.
- No one may enter a Co-op location with any signs of respiratory illness.
- No more than 10 people may occupy any one indoor space at one time.
- No congregating in common areas.
- Always practice six-foot distancing.
For a complete list of Vermont’s latest health and safety measures, go here. Keep in mind that as we are a two-state organization, these standards apply to all of our stores.
New Hampshire is also looking at easing restrictions in order to stimulate the state’s economy. The Governor has created a Task Force on Re-opening. Our Co-op’s Director of Public and Governmental Affairs, Allan Reetz, has worked with the Co-op’s leadership team on a statement to share with the task force. Our goal is to go to bat for the health and safety of our members, shoppers, and employees at the state level.
Below is the statement in its entirety. It pertains to current business restrictions and to when the state authorizes the reopening of non-essential businesses.
To Members of the Governor’s Task Force on Re-opening:
The ongoing Covid-19 crisis requires that consumers take the same precautions required of those who serve them. The management of the Hanover Co-op Food Stores and Auto Service Centers ask Governor Sununu to strongly recommend that customers wear a mask when shopping, picking up products curbside, dropping off a vehicle for service, or anywhere that brings them in close proximity to the workers we all rely on to serve New Hampshire.
My thanks to all of our members for your support during this challenging time. As I reminded our employees this week, just as we experienced a lot of change and uncertainty as our home states went into lockdown, we will experience a lot of change as things open back up. I promise to keep you updated every step of the way.
In that spirit, a quick follow-up on a topic of interest to many of you. Our popular curbside pickup program continues to expand, and will be coming to new locations soon. Our curbside team is putting the final logistics in place, and we expect to see the program launch in our Lebanon store and at the Co-op Market next month. Next steps—online ordering. Check coopfoodstore.coop/groceries2go for details moving forward.
Be well and be safe, everyone. See you in the stores or at the curbside.
Onwards and upwards,