We are monitoring the current COVID-19 situation and its impact on our communities every day. When we have relevant information to share with our customers regarding impact on our market operations, we’ll post updates here.
Week of March 23-27:
- Plexiglass: We’re installing plexiglass “shields” at the check stands this week. This provides another barrier between staff and customers in lieu of the six-foot social distancing recommendation, which is virtually impossible to achieve at a check stand.
- Social Distancing: Maintaining six feet between people in our markets can be difficult in some areas, but we’re doing what we can to make it easier to do so. We’ve placed tape on the floor at the check stands so customers waiting in line have a visual cue. We also encourage our customers to be mindful of their distance between others in the markets and limit the number of people you come to the market with.
- Customer Counts in the Markets: Because our markets vary in size and layout, each market director has a plan to limit the number of customers in their market as needed if it gets too crowded. We ask for your understanding if you arrive at the market and we ask that you wait before entering. This is yet another measure we are taking to ensure the safety of our communities.
- Employee Appreciation: We are working on an appreciation bonus for work in March and for ongoing “appreciation pay.” We expect these will be set in motion this week (details below).
- Employees may wear masks at work if they choose to. We are trying to get a supply of masks in for staff, but as most people know there is a shortage of them at this time.
- We are suspending our special-order Market Fresh Party Platters and wedding cake orders for now. We can still make custom cakes for small family gatherings as our decorators are available. Just call the bakery at your market and ask!
- Kitsap Pharmacy at Central Market Poulsbo: If you are nervous about coming into the market (obviously don’t come in if you’re feeling ill or have known exposure to the coronavirus), please call and while ordering a prescription, speak to the team member about alternatives for picking up your prescription. 360-779-5335. We’re open our regular hours but these could change without notice, so please check.
- Additional day for Senior Shopping! Starting the week of March 30, we’ve added Fridays to our special shopping times, and Ballard Market has changed the times for senior shopping. See “Shopping Hours for the Most Vulnerable” below.
March: Cleanliness and Sanitation Rule the Day
We are committed to frequent and reliable cleaning and sanitation throughout our markets, as we put the safety of employees, customers and communities above all else. Our emergency response team has been conferencing daily since early March and we add to or modify our safety practices as needed.
Below are the highlights around the actions we’ve taken to date to provide a safe place to work and shop. We began with doubling down on our already stringent safety protocols – such as frequent sanitizing of all “high-touch” surfaces like carts, check stands and PIN pads between every customer, and suspending cooking demos and sampling (complete list of safety protocols below).
Online Shopping? Delivery?
We’re working hard to get online ordering up and running so you can have your groceries ready to simply pick up or be delivered to your home. We don’t yet have a start date, but we’re optimistic about being online by the end of April, if not sooner. So please stand by!
Shopping Hours for the Most Vulnerable
All our markets except Ballard Market have set aside 7-9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays as “Senior Hours” for our most vulnerable customers – 60 and older, those with underlying medical issues, pregnant women, etc. Ballard Market’s special shopping times are 9-11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays. This is a chance for those customers to shop in a less crowded environment.
Change in Regular Market Open Hours
Our market hours have changed to the following:
- Ballard Market: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- T&C Market Bainbridge Island: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- T&C Market Lakemont: (no change) 6 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Central Markets
- Mill Creek: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Poulsbo: 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Shoreline: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Employee Support and Self-Care
We’ve been a family-owned business since 1957, and our people have always been the heart and soul of our company. Keeping our employees healthy and ensuring they can care for themselves and their families is of utmost importance to us. We are overwhelmingly appreciative and grateful for the grace and bravery our employees have shown in keeping the markets clean and safe, and caring for one another and our customers.
We have reemphasized to our employees that if they feel ill, they should not come to work and they may use their sick pay and/or vacation pay. We’ve expressed to all employees that we will honor and respect their right to take a leave of absence if they wish to. Any employee mandated by a medical professional or health agency to quarantine because they tested positive for COVID-19 or were in close proximity to someone who tested positive, will receive two weeks of full compensation. We also are pursuing state benefit programs specifically set up for workers in this crisis through Employment Security. We are doing all we can as a small, local business to ensure all our folks are taken care of during this time.
We’re working on an appreciation bonus for all who worked in March and, moving forward, we’re working with the union on an additional, ongoing hourly “appreciation pay” with no end date (it will be reviewed every two weeks). We expect these will be set in motion this week. We are hiring temporary workers to support our current employees so we can serve our customers well without overworking our current staff. Our current employees’ requests for hours take precedence in scheduling. Check our jobs pages.
Product Shortages and Delivery Disruptions
As is the case with retailers throughout the country, there are shortages of some essential items that are in high demand right now - hand sanitizers, hand sanitizing gels, toilet paper, water and some non-perishable foods. Our responses include:
- Limiting the quantity of some affected items to one or two per customer.
- Diligently working with our suppliers to get you essential products as quickly as possible. However, our suppliers are also having shortages and are working on their end to replenish their inventories so we can stock our shelves.
- Please bear with us as we may not be able to tell you when we will get more of a particular item.
Miscellaneous Safety Protocols
- We are sanitizing all “high-touch” surfaces in our markets throughout each day.
- We’ve suspended all cooking demos and sampling until further notice.
- Carts: All shopping carts, hand baskets, children’s carts and motorized shopping carts are wiped down with sanitizers after each use.
- Check Stands: Our checkers are constantly wiping down all surfaces in their check stands. The credit/debit card keypads are sanitized between each customer.
- Self-Serve Bars and Cases: Suspended until further notice. However, we’re pre-packing many of the fresh items from those bars so you can still enjoy salads, hot food and antipasti at home.
- Bulk Foods: Scoop bins are no longer available in order to minimize touch points, but many of these items will be pre-packed for your convenience. Bulk items are still available in the “gravity bins” which has been OK’d with health officials. For an even greater level of safety, we ask you to please use the plastic gloves provided. We have pre-packed the bulk spices we have available. Please ask a team member. Also, the suspension of containers or bags from home extends to bulk water. Sorry, no containers that have been in a home can be used.
- Reusable Bags: We’re now bagging all groceries in unused paper or plastic bags only. For safety reasons, reusable bags and containers for Bulk Foods from home are no longer allowed. To ensure we have enough bags on hand, plastic bags have been brought back temporarily at those markets where they’ve been banned. We have waived the 5-cent fee charged for bags. Our customers have done an outstanding job of making the switch to reusable bags – and we look forward to resuming that practice!
- Our cooler doors are regularly wiped down with sanitizer.
- We’ve swapped out unwrapped, compostable utensils at our food bars and other places through the market with individually wrapped plastic utensils to guard against any potential contamination.
- We have removed “testers” for makeup or other Health & Beauty products that are applied on or close to the face. Spritzer bottles for aromatherapy are still available.
- Behind the scenes, our back rooms, employee restrooms, meeting rooms, break rooms and computer rooms are deep-cleaned throughout each day.
- We have hand sanitizers – wipes or gels – at the entrances for our customers to use as they enter and exit the markets.
- We’re no longer filling customers’ personal coffee cups and containers in our espresso shops on Bainbridge Island and Central Market Poulsbo. We ask that people use our single-use coffee cups. The lids are being dispensed by employees rather than being self-serve.
If you have questions about any of this, please email us at email@example.com.