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coronavirus response updates

we dig doing our part

We know that grocery stores play vital roles in the communities we serve, and it’s a role we embrace with pride and responsibility.

We’re doing all we can to remain a source of well being and to continue providing essential services for you. In light of the situation we find ourselves in, we felt it was important to provide frequent updates on how we will continue to serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community.

original response

  • While Alameda Natural Grocery has had no reported COVID-19 infections in our store, we have asked any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home and notify their physician.
  • We have given our staff who have underlying medical conditions the option to stay home to minimize any potential exposure.
  • We are covering all sick time for employees regardless of tenure or employment status. These covered hours will not impact already existing sick or PTO days.
  • Employees whose jobs allow them to work from home are being allowed to work from home.
  • Employees and shoppers have requested hand sanitizer and sanitized wipes to clean cart and handbasket handles. With the increased nationwide demand for these items, we’re having difficulty obtaining them for our store. While we work to find a supplier, we’re tasking staff with cleaning these high-touch areas frequently.
  • We have implemented more rigorous cleaning practices throughout the store. This includes frequently cleaning high-touch locations like payment machines, scales, bathrooms, doors, and shopping carts and handbaskets. We are also changing out hot and cold bar utensils on an hourly basis.
  • We are working diligently with our distributors to ensure we have as many essentials as possible including pantry staples, cleaning supplies, and health and body care items.
  • Recognizing our role as an essential part of the community, we are making additional efforts to demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation for our staff who continue to work every day with commitment, resolve, and care to make sure our store is stocked, clean, and ready to serve you.

In order to best protect our staff, most of whom provide work that cannot be done remotely, and to keep our building COVID-19 free, we ask you to respect the following suggestions.

  • If you don’t need to, don’t come in. If you are not well, please do not come in. We provide same day delivery and online ordering. You can go to alamedanaturalgrocery.com/delivery or mercato.com/shop/alameda-natural-grocery. It’s all the same products in our store, just delivered to you.
  • We have provided hand washing stations at each of entrances and we encourage you to use them.
  • Please don’t steal hand wipes or sanitizer. We’re in this together and we need to share resources.
  • Be kind and respectful of those on the front lines. These are stressful times for us too.
  • Stock up, then stop. Panic buying and hoarding just contributes to shortages and more panic. When you have enough supplies and essentials to get you through a few weeks stop.

Outside of our store there are additional things you can do to help our community.

  • Donate money to our local food banks. Give to Alameda Food Bank and/or Alameda County Food Bank
  • Offer assistance to your high-risk neighbors; ask them how you can help, whether by picking up prescriptions and groceries or offering other assistance.
  • Start organizing. Start up a listserv, an online neighborhood group, shared resource spreadsheet, and help make sure no one falls through the cracks.
  • Support small businesses. The big ones will be fine.
  • Do a few shifts for our seniors through Meals on Wheels.
  • Use technology to stay in touch. There are a number of options to have some digital face-to-face time to combat isolation which can be unhealthy.
  • And of course, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.

past ongoing COVID-19 Related Store Updates

As you know, the Bay Area Shelter-in-Place order has been extended to at least May 3rd, and additional guidelines and restrictions have been put in place. We are already in compliance or have exceeded most of the requirements we have, but there some new ones to point out.

POSTINGS

We are posting the necessary signage. This includes a notice to customers and employees to avoid entering the building if they have a cough or fever (100.4°F/38°C or higher); maintain a minimum six-foot distance from one another; sneeze and cough into a cloth or tissue and if none is available to use your elbow; do not shake hands nor engage in any unnecessary physical contact.

In addition, we’ve posted the Social Distancing Protocol at each entrance, and a separate reminder to keep a six-foot distance from other customers and employees alike.

EMPLOYEE HEALTH

Additional measures are underway to increase the ability for more employees to work remotely, and per guidelines, symptom checks will happen before employees can enter the workspace.

All employees are receiving copies of the updated protocol, otherwise, all other protective recommendations and measures were already in place.

CROWD CONTROL

We are capping capacity for both the Marketplace as a whole and the grocery store at 30 and 20 persons each respectively. We have observed and tested different customer count levels and this number was both manageable and comfortable for all. But, we’ll reserve the right to change this as we deem needed.

In order to facilitate this, we have closed all entrances except for the doors from the main parking lot.

We will have a person at the door to manage the headcount. Please adhere and respect their instructions.

—> Helpful tip: We have portable sinks at each entrance. Take a half-minute while you wait to wash your hands. 🙂

We have already set markings at six-foot intervals at the entrances, in the aisles, and at checkout to help you maintain a safe distance. Please use them.

Another reminder, social distancing applies to our employees too. They have been advised to remain six feet apart as much as possible and we need all of you to give them the same space as others.

IN-STORE CHANGES

As of the new notice, we are shutting our bulk section down to self-service. We will be trying to offer a combo of pre-packaged bulk items with our most popular bulk products, and offering an attendant service too.

Sadly, per county requirements, we will also have to ask you to keep all of your reusables at home. 🙁

WORTH REPEATING

Our daily Senior/High-Risk hour (8 am – 9 am) has been working well, and we continue to ask all other populations to not violate this time.

We have put strict quantity limits on the most popular and high-demand items in the store. This is to both allow others to have access to what we all need and to lessen surges in crowds. Please respect these limits as they will be enforced, and as a courtesy to our team and your neighbors. Signs indicating which products and their limits are displayed prominently throughout the store.

We may be getting more acclimated to how things are, but it is not a time to pretend like it’s business-as-usual yet. We’ve put together a small guide of direct, best-practices you can reference to help keep everyone safe and help us out. You can find it here.

IN PROGRESS

We are in the preliminary stages of developing an additional “Curbside” pickup option. Think of it as an online-express lane. It will have its limitations but we believe it will offer an additional channel to access groceries safely. We have a significant backlog of online orders and will try to give first priority to those orders who are willing to pick up.

We hope to roll this out shortly and when we do we expect it will happen quickly. We will announce it here and on our social media channels. Please follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to stay tuned for that and more.

It’s not the prettiest of pages, but you can find this and all previous coronavirus updates on our COVID-19 page on our site.

We are starting to find a groove that at least feels somewhat regular now. Our hours will remain at 9 am – 6 pm every day during our shelter-in-place state, with the additional Senior/At-Risk hour happening daily from 8 – 9 am.

While some things are getting a little more consistent; we would like to remind everyone that this is still not business as usual.

The two greatest areas of help you can help with now would be to remember keeping a safe distance from others and improving in-store efficiency.

First, we encourage you to stock up for several days so you do not need to make frequent outings.

Second, please be mindful of keeping an appropriate distance from others. It’s very difficult in store settings, but we have placed hash marks on the ground and at the registers to help visualize 6 foot spacing.

We not only ask you observe keeping appropriate spacing as best as possible with other customers, but this also goes for our staff. Please keep a safe 6 foot distance when possible, and please shop with a sense of purpose as our staff’s ability to engage is limited.

Because this is very difficult to do at the registers, we have also installed sneeze guards for a layer of protection. The best solution at checkout, however, is to finish transactions as efficiently as possible and provide space for the next customer. We have also made some changes to the credit card transaction process to limit options, things being touched, and to streamline checkout.

While we appreciate that our being open provides a sense of normalcy in an otherwise unfamiliar time, we are still part of the greater environment and can’t operate in our normal manner. We are here to help, but in order to best do that we need your help in keeping us well. It’s not a personal, universal thing, just something keep it in mind.

We’re a little over one week into the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order. But for most of our dedicated and incredible crew they’ve continued to show up for work every day, and offer their sustained contributions to our community.

We’ve tried to do all we can to keep them safe, rested, and offer them some security during this time.

We wanted to show additional support and gratitude so all of our hourly staff has received a temporary $2.00/hour pay increase. The bump retroactively covers all hours worked during the last pay period which began prior to the shelter-in-place order. We will continue this on a week to week basis as needed and while it is financially sustainable to do so.

We thank you all for the gratitude and appreciation you’ve shown our staff too. Your support helps our staff immensely. Thank you.

None of the dispatches would be complete without once again thanking our entire staff. The amount of work and problem-solving, ably navigating new situations and stressors, and pitching in wherever possible to see us through this extraordinary time has been incredible.

We do want to make one special shout out to our Purchasing Director, Donnie. He has been working relentlessly this past week and a half to keep our store stocked as much as possible for you. While our order fulfillment rates have been down 40% or more due to general demand spikes everywhere, he has still found us eggs, pasta, beans, canned tomatoes, and more when seemingly none were to be had. Donnie has resourcefully secured additional items and temporary products all while adhering to our very strict ingredient standards. It has been a heroic effort. Thank you, Donnie.

First off we just want to express deep gratitude for all of the overwhelming support you have shown us this past week. It’s been moving and a source of strength. We hope we have provided the same for you too.

We have a few brief but important updates to share.

OPERATING HOURS

We will remain open from 9 – 6 daily.

SENIOR HOUR

Starting Monday, March 23, we will offer a dedicated shopping time for our senior and other at-risk guests.

We have set aside a pre-opening hour every day for these groups to shop in a more controlled and clean environment.

Senior Hour will be every day from 8 – 9 am.

ONLINE ORDERING

We will resume online ordering via Mercato on the morning of Monday, March 23rd. We have retooled our process and have dedicated staff to work this. However, restrictions will apply.

We have capped the number of orders per hour.

Online ordering is only available 11-4.

Product limits will be enforced the same as in-store.

No substitutions for out of stock items will be available.

You can shop us online at alamedanaturalgrocery.com/delivery or mercato.com/shop/alameda-natural-grocery.

OTHER NOTES

We also cannot accept special orders at this time.

As a courtesy to our at-risk shoppers, please stay out of the store until 9 am. We will have someone at the entrance to control the flow but please help us out.

We have put limits on many items for how much you can purchase at once. You might not benefit much by being the first one in. Conversely, there should be product left later in the day. It helps flatten the curve of demand if you will.

Again, thank you to all of you who have stuck with us through this tumultuous time. We look forward to continuing to provide new, adapted, and sustained service for you.

Now that we’re getting a moment to get caught up, we wanted to catch you up on a few things.

 

Operationally speaking, we are remaining at the reduced hours (9-6) for the near future. This has allowed us more time and space to stock shipments, and allows us an additional 2 hours to clean the store at the end of the night.

 

We have suspended our online ordering. We were pleased to offer it as an alternative, but complications made it unworkable for now. We were still overcapacity on labor in the store, and our process was not equipped to deal with the exponential increase in orders. In addition, product moved so fast that online and real availability didn’t always sync up. This has been an issue with the conglomerates as well. We are still exploring ways and means to shop remotely and will keep you posted.

 

Today, we receieved a much larger percentage of what we ordered. In days prior the orders we placed had anywhere from only a 25% fulfillment rate on up. All groceries are trying to accommodate these massive and sudden changes in demand. We expect this should level off in the next week or two as demand smoothes out and production catches up as well.

 

However, we did not experience as drastic a shortage in produce. The supply chain and logistics have remained relatively stable, and our section is stocked and looking good. And of course, all of it is organic as always.

 

We have also placed customer rations on additional items aside from sanitizers, cleaners, TP etc. The items and quantities vary by product and signs will be posted. Please respect these limits as a courtesy to us and your neighbors.

 

We have also put in place an amended return policy. For sanitary reasons, items purchased during the Bay Area Coronavirus Shelter-In-Place order (starting March 9th) are not eligible for return.

 

We have seen other stores offer dedicated windows of time for seniors and immune-comprised customers to shop. While we salute the effort at accessibility, we WILL NOT be implementing such a plan. Seniors and immune-compromised persons should remain in the homes and should not be out shopping even in dedicated times. If you can, please check in and offer assistance to your at risk friends, families, and neighbors. If you fall into one of these groups, please call us at 510-865-1500, we will do everything we can to help.

 

And speaking of friends, families, and neighbors, we want to take a moment to offer our thoughts to all of those who suddenly found themselves unable to work. These are really frightening times for so many of us, not just the illness, but the economic fallout that looms. We’re blessed to be on Park Street where so many independent businesses have taken root and make up the fabric of our town. If you can, try to support them by getting take-out, buying gift certificates for future use, or using online services if they have them.

 

This is getting long, but one last thing. We need to acknowledge the absolutely amazing work our staff has done this last week. From the upper reaches of management to our newest hires, they have thrown themselves into this work to help keep you fed, well, safe, and the store operational. Many have worked non-stop for hours on end, both on the floor, dealing with logistics, answering calls, making recommendations, and keeping as much as possible in order. Even after the store had been ransacked and shelves emptied, it was tidy and clean. We were all thrown into uncharted territory and they responded. The amount of gratitude that provides is so helpful now.

 

Thank you to all of you for your patronage and support. We dig you.

 

Stay safe out there and be kind. We’re all in this together.

You’re already inundated with COVID-19 news, but as many of you look to us as a resource for health, wellbeing, and sustenance we felt it was important to reach out again.

We know that grocery stores play vital roles in the communities we serve; it’s a role we embrace with pride and responsibility.

In recent days you have turned to us to stock your homes with food, cleaning supplies, vitamins, and personal care products as we prepare for these unprecedented times.

Things are a little chaotic and stressful, and there are still a lot of unknowns we face. Schools have shut down, events are cancelled, sports leagues are on hold, travel is restricted, places we frequent will be closed, all in an effort to protect our community from this new disease.

In many ways it is an incredible mass action, largely organized on a local level, to protect the most vulnerable and most needed among us. We need to protect ourselves so we do not overwhelm our ability to provide care for everyone.

We’re doing all we can to remain a source of well being and to continue providing essential services for you. In light of the situation we find ourselves in, we want to share some we’re doing to continue to serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community.

 

What We’re Doing

• While Alameda Natural Grocery has had no reported COVID-19 infections in our store, we have asked any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home and notify their physician.

•  We have given our staff who have underlying medical conditions the option to stay home to minimize any potential exposure.

•  We are covering all sick time for employees regardless of tenure or employment status. These covered hours will not impact already existing sick or PTO days.

•  Employees whose jobs allow them to work from home are being allowed to work from home.

•  Employees and shoppers have requested hand sanitizer and sanitized wipes to clean cart and handbasket handles. With the increased nationwide demand for these items, we’re having difficulty obtaining them for our store. While we work to find a supplier, we’re tasking staff with cleaning these high-touch areas frequently.

• We have implemented more rigorous cleaning practices throughout the store. This includes frequently cleaning high-touch locations like payment machines, scales, bathrooms, doors, and shopping carts and handbaskets. We are also changing out hot and cold bar utensils on an hourly basis.

• We are working diligently with our distributors to ensure we have as many essentials as possible including pantry staples, cleaning supplies, and health and body care items.

•  Recognizing our role as an essential part of the community, we are making additional efforts to demonstrate our gratitude and appreciation for our staff who continue to work every day with commitment, resolve, and care to make sure our store is stocked, clean, and ready to serve you.

 

What You Can Do


That said, we also want you to take a moment to reflect on how you and your role plays into our collective wellbeing.

In order to best protect our staff, most of whom provide work that cannot be done remotely, and to keep our building COVID-19 free, we ask you to respect the following suggestions.

 

• If you don’t need to, don’t come in. If you are not well, please do not come in. We provide same day delivery and online ordering. You can go to alamedanaturalgrocery.com/delivery or mercato.com/shop/alameda-natural-grocery. It’s all the same products in our store, just delivered to you.

• We have provided hand washing stations at each of entrances and we encourage you to use them.

• Please don’t steal hand wipes or sanitizer. We’re in this together and we need to share resources.

• Be kind and respectful of those on the front lines. These are stressful times for us too.

 

Outside of our store there are additional things you can do to help our community.

 

• Stock up, then stop. Panic buying and hoarding just contributes to shortages and more panic. When you have enough supplies and essentials to get you through a few weeks stop.

• Donate money to our local food banks. Give to Alameda Food Bank and/or Alameda County Food Bank

• Offer assistance to your high-risk neighbors; ask them how you can help, whether by picking up prescriptions and groceries or offering other assistance.

• Start organizing. Start up a listserv, an online neighborhood group, shared resource spreadsheet, and help make sure no one falls through the cracks.

• Support small businesses. The big ones will be fine.

• Do a few shifts for our seniors through Meals on Wheels.

• Use technology to stay in touch. There are a number of options to have some digital face-to-face time to combat isolation which can be unhealthy.

• And of course, wash your hands frequently and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.


Remember you may not be doing all these things for your benefit, but for your family, your friend’s families, and your community.

covid-19 hours

Daily Hours:

Senior/At-Risk Hour:

8 am – 9 am
General: 9 am – 7 pm

Online: 11 am – 5 pm

address & phone

1650 Park Street
Alameda, CA 94501

(510) 865-1500

shop us online