To Our Owners & Community,
In the interest of transparency, we want to inform you that we have learned that one of our staff members has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This is our first COVID case.
The employee last worked at the co-op on Wednesday, December 16. They sought testing on Thursday after exposure to someone outside the co-op who had tested positive. Our employee received their positive result Saturday and informed us later that day. They never exhibited symptoms while at work.
This employee works in the grocery department receiving and stocking freight and has moderate contact with the public. They wore a facemask at all times while working and did not have prolonged close exposure to other employees or shoppers. (Prolonged close exposure is more than 15 minutes within six feet of another person.)
Throughout the pandemic, we have followed recommendations from state, local, and national health authorities. We are contacting the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services and will follow any additional guidance.
We have informed all of our other employees and encouraged them to seek testing. Our co-op has a generous sick leave and vacation policy, and we will work with staff members on a case-by-case basis to ensure that they have the support they need. As part of our standard policy, we ask that any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever stay home, contact their supervisor, and notify their physician.
Our co-op prides itself on its cleanliness and food safety standards, and we are taking multiple steps to serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community. We have implemented rigorous daily cleaning practices, including frequently sanitizing and disinfecting the store’s high touch areas (e.g., freezer door handles, bathrooms, and bulk food bins). We disinfect shopping carts after every use and clean check stands regularly throughout the day.
• We screen all employees for temperature and symptoms before each shift.
• All staff self-monitor throughout the day and stay or go home if sick.
• We require employees and shoppers to wear cloth face coverings at all times while in the store. The only exception is for employees who are eating in our break room. We allow only two people in the break room at any given time.
• We ask all employees to maintain 6-foot social distance from others.
That we have remained COVID-free for 10 months – even with more than 300 shoppers in the store almost every day – is proof that these precautions are effective. We will continue to employ them.
Our primary concern right now is the wellness of this employee, other staff, and our community.
If you have any questions about our COVID-19 policies, please contact Shaun Sims, Interim General Manager.
Thank you for your support as we do everything possible to keep our community safe, healthy, and well fed.