Update May 17, 2021
Today Governor Cuomo announced that New York State will adopt the CDC’s relaxed restrictions on mask use for fully vaccinated people. At the co-op, we will continue to require masks for all staff and customers until further notice.
As always, we will reevaluate this policy as the situation evolves. The safety of our staff and customers continues to be our top priority.
Thank you for cooperation in keeping our community safe and healthy. Please continue to be kind to each other.
–Tim Bartlett, General Manager
Update September 19, 2020
Lexington Co-op learned yesterday September 18 that a staff member at the Elmwood store has tested positive for COVID-19. This staff person last worked in the store on Sunday, September 13, 2020. Lexington has been in regular contact with the Erie County Health Department. They have informed us that our current, rigorous COVID-19 cleaning protocol is sufficient to address the situation and that no store or department closures are required. Additionally, they’ve indicated that no other staff members at Lexington Elmwood need to self-quarantine if they are asymptomatic. The staff member who tested positive is receiving care and will not return to work until guidance from public health officials allows it. Lexington is following the guidelines of the CDC and federal and local governments to protect the individual to ensure they do not lose wages as a result of these steps
Update: September 5, 2020
Actions We’re Taking to Prevent the Spread of Covid-19
- The co-op’s top priority is to keep our staff and customers safe and our community fed through this pandemic. In all cases, we are following the direction of the CDC and Erie County Department of Health. Below is a list of changes that we have made to keep everyone safe.
- Mandatory mask use. The co-op is enforcing 100% mask requirement of customers and vendors. Staff working throughout the stores & back rooms must wear a mask at all times. Staff in offices must wear a mask whenever they are not 6’ apart from another staff member.
- Rigorous cleaning protocols. Since April, the co-op has implemented the CDC recommended cleaning list every 72 hours. Co-op staff are sanitizing high touch surfaces every other hour.
- Ionized air filters. In early September the co-op installed ionized filters on our heating & cooling systems that help reduce the circulation of viruses, bacteria and odors.
- Changes to facilitate social distancing: Plexiglass at the registers. Floor signage. Rearranged breakrooms. Curbside pickup for owners. Many admin staff are working from home.
- Changes to minimize touches: All card transactions default to credit with no signature needed. No cash back at the registers. Customers who bring their own bags are expected to bag their own.
- Changes to minimize cross contamination: Shopping into personal bags is no longer allowed. Customers may not bring their own containers for coffee bar or bulk area.
What We Are Asking of Our Customers
- Do not come to the store if you are experiencing fever, cough or other Covid symptoms.
- Wear a mask over your nose and mouth at all times in the store
- Maintain 6′ social distancing whenever possible.
- Be kind to each other and enjoy the stores you own.
Update: July 9, 2020
Bulk is back! Look for your favorite bulk items in our stores. We have replaced scoop bins to pull down gravity bins. Here’s you need to know before you shop:
- Sanitize your hands before shopping bulk
- You may not bring container from home
- Bulk bins are cleaned as part of our hourly sanitizing schedule
- Many bulk items are available in large (25-50lb) bags. Ask us for assistance!
Update: June 9, 2020
Store hours have returned to 7am-11pm daily!
Co-op COVID19 Response
March 15, 2020
Changes in Our Stores
We have temporarily suspended the following:
- Hot Bar & Salad Bar: heat and serve meal options are available
- Bulk Bins: many bulk items are available prepackaged
- Special Orders
Changes in Our Services
We have suspended the following practices to minimize cross contamination:
- Returns. Please do not return the substandard product to the store. Simply inform your cashier and we will gladly give you a replacement or refund. Receipt may be required.
- Reusable mugs at our coffee stations
- Reusable bags are ok, but we ask that you bag your own groceries.
- Limit of 2 paper products per customer
Health & Safety Enhancements
As part of our everyday practices, we follow strict food safety and policies and procedures, above and beyond what is required of us to ensure a safe environment for all. We continue to reinforce employee education regarding viral prevention and encouraging them to stay home when they don’t feel well. Still, we are taking additional measures to help ensure the health and safety of our employees and customers. We:
- Increased the frequency of cleaning and sanitation in our stores and offices
- Social distancing
- Plexiglass shields at our registers
- Adding additional hand sanitizer stations as available
- Requiring all staff and customers to wear face masks at all times when in the store
In compliance with New York State Executive Order 202.16, all co-op staff are now required to wear face masks while on the sales floor, in the kitchen, and in the back rooms. Masks have been provided by the co-op and through generous donations from the community. Some staff may have medical conditions that exclude them from wearing masks. These exclusions have been cleared with our HR department.
New York State has also issued an Executive Order requiring everyone to wear a mask or face covering when out in public and in situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. In keeping with this order, Co-op shoppers are now required to wear face coverings while in the store. The CDC has created a resource of how to make your own face covering
Immunocompromised Shopping Hours
Some retailers are offering dedicated shopping hours to seniors and other immunocompromised customers. The co-op has not taken this step for several reasons, but the biggest is that we are not convinced that having a large population of immunocompromised people in one location at one time is a good idea. We are sanitizing all surfaces hourly to keep our stores clean and safe. We are monitoring this situation closely an adjusting as developments occur.
The co-op is a community of people who have come together around access to food. Unfortunately, our stores are not yet set up for on-line shopping or phone ordering. We are asking our owners to help with this. If you have a friend or neighbor who may be sheltering in place, please reach out to them to see if you can shop for them.
Supply & Demand
Covid-19 is challenging our national grocery supply chain as never before. But through the uncertainty of the past few weeks, our local producers and suppliers have kept our shelves full and our community fed with essentials like bread, meat, produce, cheese and deli. This is the power of a strong local food system. Nationally, we are starting to see things even out and are confident the national supply chain will stabilize as long as we all prioritize our needs. We continue to receive deliveries daily.
Supporting our Employees
Through 50 years, the co-op’s success has been built on the hard work, stewardship and care of our employees. Over the past few weeks, we have been humbled by our team’s dedication to ensuring that the co-op remains a vital resource to our community. The co-op is taking steps to support them during this challenging time, including a job-protected voluntary leave program and resources through our employee assistance program.
To demonstrate the co-op’s deep appreciation for our employees, on April 23, we announced temporary increases in pay and benefits. Co-op staff received the cash equivalent of $2 an hour for every hour worked from March 8 through June 13 as well as an additional week of paid time off.
From the Food & Drug Administration: “Currently there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. Unlike foodborne gastrointestinal (GI) viruses like norovirus and hepatitis A that often make people ill through contaminated food, SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19, is a virus that causes respiratory illness. Foodborne exposure to this virus is not known to be a route of transmission.
The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person. This includes between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet), and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads. However, it’s always critical to follow the 4 key steps of food safety—clean, separate, cook, and chill – to prevent foodborne illness.”
Please check our employment page for postings.