On Wednesday evening, the Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Health issued a new set of orders that essential businesses open during COVID-19 must comply with. The order outlines measures for businesses to take to keep their employees and patrons safe during this unprecedented pandemic. The East End Food Co-op was already in compliance with many of the orders, including providing plexiglass in front of cashier lines, maintaining rigorous cleaning and sanitation processes for high-touch areas, carts, and shopping baskets, offering designated shopping times for high-risk individuals, and offering online shopping with delivery and curbside service. Despite being ahead of the curve on many items, we still found ourselves (once again) closely examining business operations for continued improvement. We’ve created additional policies to remain in compliance with this state order. Below are updates on store policies and some reminders for how you can help. After all, we are are in this together. Your cooperation matters now more than ever!

Face Masks are Mandatory

Effective immediately, shoppers who wish to enter the East End Food Co-op are required to wear a face mask. All staff members are also required to wear face masks. Children under age 2 and those who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition are exempt from this requirement. This mandate is coming from the PA State Health Department; we are upholding this order as an essential business open during COVID-19.

A list of acceptable face coverings and instructions on how to make your own face mask are available from the CDC.

Do not take shopping carts from the cart returns in the parking lot

We must ensure each cart and hand basket is cleaned prior to use. Carts in our parking lot cart returns have not yet been sanitized. Please only retrieve a cart from the corral outside the front door. Additionally, do not return you used carts to our “clean carts” corral. We are focusing staff time and effort to ensure carts are clean. Please help us by following this system.

Do not shop into your bags

Use a clean cart or basket for shopping. Do not shop into your bags.

Reusable shopping bags

We are still permitting shoppers to use their own bags, but ask you consider leaving bags in your vehicle and packing your groceries at your car. We understand this is not an option for those who bike and walk.

Customer Flow

We continue to enforce a 15 shopper maximum in the store at all times. Please be prepared to stand outside while you wait for your turn to enter the store. When you visit us, please be prompt in your shopping and considerate of your fellow co-operators waiting to shop. We also discourage shopping in groups or visiting the store more than necessary. During the pandemic, it is recommended that essential visits to grocery stores are limited to once a week or every other week. Stay safe and stay home as much as possible.

Be prepared

We need to move people quickly through the store and the checkout lanes. Please come prepared with everything you need to visit us, including your member card. If you do not have your member card or do not know your number, your cashier will print a receipt and you can get a store credit in the amount of your discount at another time. Please do not hold our lines by requesting that we look up this information for you. If you’ve lost your card, please alert Member Services via email and we can mail a new card to you.

Be kind

As the weeks wear on and each person’s stress levels rise, we are experiencing an increased level of hostility towards our staff. At all times, civility toward fellow man is expected, but now more than ever we need our front line employees to be treated with respect and courtesy. They are coming to work every day to ensure our community has what it needs. To those of you who continue to send your encouragements and thank our staff, we thank you for helping buoy our spirits!

Thank you again for supporting your community store. We wish you all good health!

In cooperation,

Maura Holliday, General Manager