Shopping and Facility Update
Shopping Hours: 9:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Shopping members must be online outside the Coop no later than 8:00 p.m. Please note that the outside line will be closed to additional shoppers prior to 8:00 p.m. if the length of the outside line exceeds our capacity to get everyone into the Coop by 8:00 p.m. All shopping members must complete their shopping and be on the checkout line by 8:30 p.m.
All posted policies and practices are subject to change. We thank you, in advance, for your understanding.
Shopping and Facility Update
The Coop’s operations have been significantly modified in response to COVID-19. It is important that Coop members take the time to keep themselves up to date with all the changes. To assist you we have compiled all the operational changes, plus a few that are coming soon, on this page. We update both Coop policy and this page regularly as public health guidance from our local, state, and federal government changes. We strongly recommend following @foodcoop on Instagram or Twitter, so that you have access to current info before each visit to the Coop.
Click the bold words below to access details on that area of the Coop’s operation.
If You or Someone in Your Household is Ill, Please Stay Home
If you feel ill, anyone in your household is ill, or you have been directed to self-monitor and -quarantine, please stay home. We are asking you not to enter the building to protect our Coop community. Follow the guidance of NYC Dept of Health or the CDC found here: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html or https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/doh/downloads/pdf/imm/stop-the-spread-poster.pdf
Shopping Floor Mandatory Public Health Protocols
- Members waiting outside to shop and inside the Coop must wear a face-covering that covers their nose and mouth at all times
- Members must sanitize their hands or the gloves they are wearing when entering the Coop and any time their hands get soiled while in the Coop.
- One member per household allowed entry to shop, if possible. Let your spouse, partner, or household member wait outside the Coop while you shop. Only shopping members should be in the building. Please limit your time in the building to those activities.
- Members should not bring visitors to the Coop at this time.
- Do not hand your card/slip to the checkout worker. Scan your card on the front-facing reader or across the scale.
- No personal carts in the Coop shopping area. You will be asked to store your personal cart outside the Coop in the cart corral.
- Maximum number of shoppers allowed entry into the Coop is 35
- Keep 6 feet of distance between yourself, other shoppers and staff whenever possible
- Limit of 4 shoppers per regular aisle – the back of the store counts as an aisle in this case with regard to active shopping members and not those waiting on any lines inside the Coop — and 4 people on each side of the produce aisle. These limits allow for up to two additional people stocking in each aisle. If you are waiting on a line inside the Coop, please assist other shoppers in maintaining distance by NOT standing online at the “endcaps.” Only wait in line IN the aisles, please.
- No more than 2 shopping members allowed in bulk bin section (rear half) of the bulk aisle at any one time
- Do not reach over staff or other members to get your product. Wait or politely ask them to move so you can reach your item
- Follow the shopping traffic pattern recommended by the staff to ease congestion and keep members moving through the Coop.
- Don’t place your personal shopping bag on the deck of the checkout counter. Keep your bags in your cart and pack into the bags in the cart.
- Only touch items that you want to buy!
- If paying with cash, set your cash on the counter and let the cashier pick it up. Try to avoid hand contact with the cashier.
General Sanitizing and Hygiene Protocols
Sanitizing foam dispensers are installed at the entrance desk and around the shopping floor. The Coop will make sure that the sanitizing wipe dispensers and foaming dispensers are full and available for use. The Coop is thoroughly cleaning and sanitizing the common high-touch surfaces and spaces every night.
High-Risk Group and Seniors (65+) ONLY Shopping Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m
EVERY THURSDAY from 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Coop shopping hours will be reserved exclusively for individuals at high-risk for severe complications from COVID-19 and/or seniors (65+). The Coop is following CDC guidance on who is defined as high-risk. Follow this link for full description: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html. Seniors may be asked to provide proof of age. No one will be asked to provide any proof of their medical status.
Members in the high-risk and/or senior group will still need to wait in a line outside as we are limiting the number of shoppers in the Coop. Coop staff reserve the right to offer priority entry out of line-waiting order to the very elderly and/or infirm who may not be able to wait, even while seated inside the Coop, based on our judgment.
We are asking all other Coop members not to shop on Thursdays between 9:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. in respect of fellow Coop members who are seniors or at a higher risk of severe illness by COVID-19. Members under the age of 65 and those without underlying conditions that put them at greater risk may begin lining up outside at 3:00 p.m. on Thursdays. Please do not arrive prior to 3:00 p.m. as the Coop will still be serving its high-risk individuals and senior members.
We will continue to revisit this policy in order to create one that balances the needs of all our members. If it turns out that seniors and high-risk individuals do not need all of Thursday’s shopping hours, we will modify this policy again.
For seniors and high-risk group members, please read the information about the Authorized Shopper program below. The Coop has relaxed the Authorized Shopper rules. We urge members who are unable to come to the Coop or want to limit their exposure in public to consider using the Authorized Shopper program.
High-Risk Groups and Senior Shopping on Other Days of the Week
All day on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and on Thursday between 3:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m. seniors and others in the high-risk group should follow the procedures below if they cannot wait on line:
- Get in the line waiting outside to enter the Coop.
- Identify yourself to the members around you in line and ask them to hold your place.
- Proceed to the front of the line and tell the outside line manager that you need a place to sit while waiting for your place in line to be called in to shop.
- You will be provided a chair to sit in while waiting. You might still be waiting outside the Coop so dress appropriately for the weather. We have limited space in the Coop for members to sit while waiting and also maintain the sufficient physical distance from one another. If there is space inside to wait, a Coop paid staff person will let you know.
- If you are in a high-risk category and absolutely cannot wait, even while seated, please speak to a member of the Coop paid staff for assistance.
We hope that these exclusive shopping hours will help our seniors and others at high-risk, and we apologize in advance to any member who feels this doesn’t meet their needs. We are doing our best to meet the needs of all the members who want to shop while also providing a safe working space for our paid staff. We will review these procedures as we learn more about the demands placed on the Coop and our capacity to meet those demands.
Workslot Requirement Temporarily Suspended – Do NOT come to work your shift.
The Coop will temporarily suspend its member-labor work requirement as of Monday, March 23, starting at 5:00 a.m. in response to Governor Cuomo’s “New York State on PAUSE” executive order. Until further notice, members will no longer work their shifts at the Coop and the member-labor work requirement is suspended. Please do NOT come to your work shift. We will continue to sell goods to our members, but Coop operations will be staffed exclusively by the paid staff including temporary, part-time staff.
It is with great sadness that the Coop decided to institute this dramatic change in our participatory Coop model. The General Coordinators weighed carefully the concerns of staff and members, listened to the strongly-worded directives of our Governor and Mayor, and considered the advice from Coop members active in the medical and public health fields before making our decision.
It is immensely clear that in order to stem the spread of COVID-19 we all must severely limit the number of people we come in contact with. Continuing to allow a few hundred member-workers to enter the building daily does not follow the spirit of the Governor’s executive order and exposes the paid staff to many, many people every day. Keeping our doors open for members to shop will still expose the staff, though at a much lower rate.
We cannot predict how long we will operate with only paid staff, but rest assured, the Coop will invite members back to help run the Coop as soon as we evaluate we can do that in a safe manner. Our vibrant Coop community was built on member-labor and is the heart of our successful participatory food coop model. We are a resilient community that will survive and emerge stronger from this horrific public health crisis.
All members as of 3/23/2020 are eligible to shop regardless of their Coop “status.”
During this period of no member-labor requirement, rules limiting shopping privileges for members who are suspended and have exceeded their grace period have been lifted. If you were a member of the Coop as of March 23, 2020, the lifting of this Coop policy applies to you.
You will be able to shop even if as of 3/23/2020 you were “suspended” because for one of these reasons: work, member payments, training, orientation, or documentation owed for a work exemption (such as parental leave or disability).
There are four exceptions to this new policy:
- You are unable to shop due to a decision of the Dispute Resolution Committee
- You have been expelled, either temporarily or permanently, from the Coop
- You have taken a permanent or temporary leave from the Coop
- Your membership is “dormant”
As a result of this policy change, there is no need to contact the Coop in regard to any aspect of your member work history or your work slot requirement at the Coop. You are welcome to shop with the full confidence that if you were a Coop member on 3/23/2020 and have not since taken a temporary or permanent leave of absence from the Coop, you will be able to shop.
Authorizing a Non-Member to Shop for You
The requirements to have an Authorized Shopper have been relaxed as a response to COVID-19. Our goal is to make the authorized shopper program more easily available to our members who identify that they are in a high-risk category and need to limit social contact or self-isolate.
What is an Authorized Shopper? An authorized shopper is a non-member who is allowed to shop for a current Coop member without the Coop member being present.
How do you designate an Authorized Shopper?
- The person you wish to shop in your absence should present themselves at the Coop’s Entrance Desk after they have waited on line to enter.
- A staff person will have the person complete the Authorized Shopper form. They need to bring your member card and their photo ID with an address to be eligible to complete the forms and enter the Coop.
- The person you designate cannot live at your address as listed in the Coop membership database. If the address on their photo ID matches your address, the person will not be designated to be your Authorized Shopper.
- A message will be posted to your member record to alert the Entrance Desk that you have designated this person as your Authorized Shopper and the Coop has approved the form.
The Coop is not requiring at this time that:
- You are on a work-exempt committee (for example, temporary disability or parental leave) to have an Authorized Shopper
- You do not need to sign the Authorized Shopper form or be present to request the Authorized Shopper. A staff member can confirm by phone your request to have an Authorized Shopper.
These changes will be in effect until further notice and may be subject to modification if the guidance from public health agencies/officials changes. All other guidelines of the Authorized Shopper remain in force.
Shopping Slot/Time Reservation System…coming soon!
The Coop is working on a line reservation system to be rolled out soon. We don’t want to promise a release date as we want to make sure this solution works for our needs and has been tested prior to release. But we wanted to let you know that we’ve heard your many requests and are responding as quickly as we can, given our many priorities.
We believe the line reservations system will serve the Coop’s many populations: the technically-able and those less so; members who plan ahead and those who don’t; people connected via the Coop’s social media and those who still drop by the Coop to find out what’s going on. We can tailor its features to cater to specific groups of members such as seniors, individuals in the high-risk groups, and front-line workers. The solution promises to be flexible and nimble, responding to the changing needs of the Coop during this period of social distancing and zero member-labor.
Keep your eye out for further announcements!
Response to Member Requests for Curbside Pick-Up and/or Delivery
Over the past month the Coop’s General Coordinators and Area Coordinators have been working long hours to retool the Coop’s operations in the all paid labor, reduced shopping hours, and maintain social distancing era that is our current reality. Every day we continue to refine and rethink our processes to best meet the needs of the Coop, increase capacity, and expand our shopping hours. Our top priorities have been to find ways to stabilize the Coop’s financial situation and to serve as many members as we can under difficult shopping conditions.
We’ve heard from many members a desire for the Coop to develop systems for online ordering, curbside pick-up, or delivery. Those ideas sound attractive for many reasons and appear to have the potential for expanding the Coop’s reach. But over the past several weeks, the Coop’s more urgent need has been to keep the doors open to shoppers and put in place an operational system that allows a level of in-store shopping that puts a floor under the falling revenues. Our priority, quite honestly, is the Coop’s survival, and researching, developing, and implementing new ways of doing business has not risen to the level of other urgent concerns that needed immediate attention.
We also know that online ordering, curbside pick-up, and delivery are costly in staff dollars to operate and do not generate the same level of sales as expanded shopping hours do. The GCs weigh many factors when considering the pros/cons of any new revenue-generating stream: how much does it cost in terms of payroll (the Coop’s highest expense) and what is the bang for the buck (i.e. what return on our investment). We will continue to study the options of online ordering, curbside pick-up, or delivery and try to learn from the many, NCG-affiliated food coops around the country who are attempting to serve their public through these features. What we’ve learned so far is that it has not been smooth sailing for our coop friends and their capacity to serve many people is limited.
We will continue to engage these questions and report back to you with any developments. Thank you for understanding how we are making our priorities and what we choose to tackle first as we navigate these uncharted waters.
The Membership Office is Closed
The Office is closed until further notice. We urgently request your understanding in asking that you DO NOT CALL or VISIT the Membership Office at this time. Closing is necessary to allow the Coop paid staff to focus on the shopping floor.
We know it is difficult not to have the Membership Office available at this time so we are working on providing some assistance to Coop members. Our current plan is to give members the ability via email or the Coop’s member services site to take a leave of absence, return from a leave of absence, request an authorized shopper, or permanently leave the Coop. For people who have attended orientation and are ready to join or former members who want to rejoin, we are working on ways to offer those options too. The goal is to have all these new systems in place in the next couple of weeks. Please be patient as we transitioned to on-line services. When we are ready, announcements will be made on foodcoop.com, Twitter and Instagram.
Other Closures and Cancellations
- The Childcare Room is closed for the foreseeable future.
- Orientation and all Other Coop Events both on- and off-site are cancelled for the foreseeable future.
- Terracycle collections are cancelled for the foreseeable future.
We Continue to Accept SodaStream Bottle Returns
Please wash thoroughly your SodaStream canister before returning to the Coop. If possible, return your clean canister in a plastic bag for the safety of the Coop paid staff.
June 30 Coop General Meeting and Annual Meeting Postponed
The March 31 and April 28 General Meetings were canceled to follow the guidelines of the CDC and NYC regarding events and gatherings. The May 26 General Meeting was successfully held via Zoom, and the same will be true for the June 30 General Meeting. Members wishing to participate should register in advance. Please note that work slot credit is not being offered.
The Coop’s Annual Meeting scheduled originally for June 30 has been postponed until late September. Ballots mailed out for the Annual Meeting and returned to the Coop will be valid and accepted at the postponed Annual Meeting in September. Check back for details.