COVID-19 Information & Updates

As our community works together to navigate this time, we want to make sure that you can stay up-to-date with the latest changes and information regarding First Alternative Co-op and our store operations. We want to thank you for your continued support and understanding as we work diligently to provide the safest shopping experience for our customers.

Recent updates (Updated 5/21/20)

  • Beginning Monday, May 25, all Co-op shoppers will be expected to wear a facial covering over their nose and mouth while inside the store. Those who arrive without a covering will be offered a disposable mask, although our supplies are limited, so we ask that you bring your own if you are able. Facial coverings are strongly recommended by the CDC and the recent guidelines published by the State of Oregon specify that certain businesses, like grocery stores, should require employees to wear a facial covering. They also strongly recommend places of business where employees are required to wear facial coverings implement a mandatory face-covering policy for customers as well. While not a substitute for maintaining six-foot distancing, regular hand-washing, and other safety measures, they provide a significant degree of added protection from the spread of COVID-19. They are considered particularly useful for protecting others if you are infected and don’t realize it.
  • As of May 11, we are requiring all staff to wear facial coverings in the store and in areas where they are unable to keep six feet of social distance. Thanks to a few generous community donations and some of our talented staff who took on the task of sewing masks for their co-workers, we have plenty of facial coverings for all staff. We were also able to get facial shields for those staff who are unable to wear masks due to other medical conditions.

Ongoing changes

  • Both Co-op locations will be adjusting store hours to 9am-7pm daily until further notice. This change will help us maintain adequate staffing while we are open to the public, keep up with increased cleaning and sanitizing, and ensure the well-being of our staff and customers.
  • We have installed plexiglass shields at our registers to help protect our staff and shoppers during the check out process. We ask that you wait until the person in front of you has completed their transaction before unloading your groceries to help maintain six feet of social distance. We also ask that you refrain from putting your reusable bag on the conveyor belt and bag your own groceries if you are able.
  • We are now offering pick-up and delivery services. We ask that delivery requests be reserved for seniors, those who are immune-compromised, or otherwise vulnerable shoppers. Learn about the full process and place an order at firstalt.coop/order.
  • We have temporarily discontinued our weekly Fresh Flyer sales program due to the ongoing distribution challenges we face. We are still offering many great sales throughout the store, including our Co-op Deals program, but please note that we cannot guarantee these items will be in stock.
  • New changes to the bulk department have been implemented.
    • Please maintain 6 feet of social distance in the bulk departments and throughout the store.
    • Please use a new container for all bulk and produce purchases until further notice. Reusable containers from home are not permitted.
    • All scoops, funnels, spoons are now single-use.
    • All bin lids and gravity bin handles are being sanitized multiple times daily and spice containers are being wiped down several times daily.
    • Increased staffing will help us enforce social distancing between shoppers and assist as needed.
  • We will be unable to accept any special orders until further notice. This is necessary to ensure we are able to adequately restock our shelves and have enough product for everyone.
  • We want to express our sincere gratitude to our staff, who are truly the backbone of the Co-op’s ability to provide for our community. They are on the front line, bravely showing up each and every day to make a difference. Here’s what we’re doing to support our amazing team of staff:
    • We will be providing all staff who are working in the stores with an extra “Community Hero” bonus, equivalent to an extra $2/hour for all their hours worked in the stores. This will be retroactive back to March 1 and reviewed on an ongoing basis as circumstances continue to shift moving forward.
    • We are providing two weeks of extra Paid Time Off for staff who are sick, quarantined at home, caring for a family member, or who are needing to stay home due to school closures. This extra coverage will not affect staff’s normal Paid Time Off bank if they need to use it, because we know that will be important to have in tact after this time has passed. We will also be covering an additional ten weeks at 75% of normal wages for these individuals should it be needed. We are also giving staff who may feel unsafe working in this environment the option of staying home for one week and will provide them with 60% of their normal wages for that week as a one time payment. In all of these situations, we are providing job assurance to any staff who want or need to stay home.
  • The hot food and salad bars will be closed until further notice. The Grab & Go section will remain, and the commissary is working to expand our selection of pre-packaged heat-and-eat meals to include a number of hot bar favorites in family and individual sizes. All bakery items will be individually packed, and fresh-brewed coffee will no longer be self-serve, but still available from the deli. We cannot fill personal mugs.
  • Beans 4 Bags tokens have been removed from all registers. Recipient organizations for this quarter will have the donation amount divided evenly between them.
  • One case limit on special orders of the following packaged items: beans, pasta, tomato products, cereal, olive oil, canned or frozen fruit and vegetables, toilet paper, paper towels, and sanitizing products (as soon as they are available.)
  • The public meeting rooms and seating areas next to the deli at both stores will also remain closed until further notice.
  • Our maintenance team is sanitizing the store (along with storage areas, break rooms, and offices) multiple time per day. This includes wiping down basket and cart handles, doors handles, restrooms, registers, work spaces, and any other commonly used spaces and items.
  • Hand sanitizers and disposable gloves are available at all entrances and in locations where food is served.
  • All demos and passive sampling have been canceled until further notice.
  • Staff are being required to stay home at the first sign of any illness. We are also giving staff who feel unsafe working in this environment the option of staying home. In both these situations, we are providing job assurance to any staff who want or need to stay home.
Thanks to the amazing Co-op staff, community members, vendors, farmers, bakers, drink makers, and all the local leaders that are helping us work our way through this uniquely trying time. Remember that even with social distancing, we stand together as a community.
Continue to stay up-to-date on the latest store updates by following @firstaltcoop on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.