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Honest Weight Fresh News

Maintaining a Healthy Co-op, Together

Navigating the COVID-19 Pandemic at Honest Weight

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We continue to mandate that all staff and member-owners wear face coverings while at the co-op. We also continue to ask that ALL who enter the co-op wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. 

In the interest of public health, we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccination here.

UPDATE (Tuesday, 11/30/2021)

We were notified of a positive COVID-19 test result. We are not able to disclose the name of the individual who tested positive. We can share that they last worked on Wednesday, 11/24, from 8am-12pm on the Front End. They notified us of their positive test today, Tuesday, 11/30.

Our primary concern right now is the wellness of the affected individual, along with you all, and our greater community. The Department of Health has been notified and will be directly reaching out to those employees who may have been within close contact with the individual. This information is coming directly from the co-op's staffing schedule and the staff member who tested positive.

In the spirit of transparency, going forward all positive COVID  cases in the coop will be made publicly available on the COVID-19 page of our website.

We want to thank you all once again for the proactive and precautionary steps you have taken every day to reduce risk at the co-op. Your work and your actions are helping keep people safe.

All individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.  You can make an appointment online at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ , or by phone at 1-833-697-4829. This is not mandatory, but is encouraged in the interest of public health.

 

UPDATE (Tuesday, 11/23/2021)

We were notified of two positive COVID-19 test results. We are not able to disclose the names of the individuals who tested positive.

We can share that one individual last worked Wednesday, 11/17, Friday 11/19, and Saturday 11/20, in the grocery department. They notified us of their positive test on Tuesday, 11/23.

The second individual last worked Sunday, 11/21, in the bulk department, and notified us of their positive test on Tuesday, 11/23.

Our primary concern right now is the wellness of the affected individuals along with you all, and our greater community. The Department of Health has been notified and will be directly reaching out to those employees who may have been within close contact with the individual. This information is coming directly from the co-op's staffing schedule and the staff member who tested positive.

In the spirit of transparency, going forward all positive COVID  cases in the coop will be made publicly available on the this page of our website.

We want to thank you all once again for the proactive and precautionary steps you have taken every day to reduce risk at the co-op. Your work and your actions are helping keep people safe.

All individuals 5 years of age and older are eligible to receive the vaccine.  You can make an appointment online at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ , or by phone at 1-833-697-4829. This is not mandatory, but is encouraged in the interest of public health.

 

UPDATE (Tuesday, 10/26/2021)

We were notified of a positive COVID-19 test result. We are not able to disclose the name of the individual who tested positive, but we can share the person last worked Friday, October 22nd in the Grocery department. They notified us of their positive test on Sunday, October 24th. 
 
Our primary concern right now is the wellness of the affected individual along with you all, and our greater community. The Department of Health has been notified and will be directly reaching out to those employees who may have been within close contact with the individual. This information is coming directly from the co-op's staffing schedule and the staff member who tested positive.

In the spirit of transparency, going forward all positive COVID  cases in the coop will be made publicly available on the this page of our website.
 
We want to thank you all once again for the proactive and precautionary steps we have taken every day to reduce risk at the co-op. Your work and your actions are helping keep people safe.
 
All individuals 12 years of age and older that reside in the United States are eligible to receive the vaccine.  You can make an appointment online at https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ , or by phone at 1-833-697-4829. This is not mandatory, but is encouraged in the interest of public health.

 

UPDATE (Thursday, 10/7/2021)

As colder and shorter days are upon us, we approach 19 months of living with COVID-19 in Albany County. It's hard to believe that we are still dealing with this. We continue to be blown away by the efforts of all of the staff and member-owners who keep the co-op running smoothly each day in the midst of a global pandemic.

As of October 4, Albany County has a 7-day new positive case average of 80, similar to where we were in November of 2020. At Honest Weight, as you are aware from the emails you receive, we have experienced our own recent small but noticeable uptick in positive COVID cases amongst staff. In an effort to improve transparency and accessibility of information, we will now be sharing positive case information publicly on the COVID-19 info page of the HWFC website. In the event of another positive case, staff and member-owners who have recently invested time will receive emails as they always have, directing them to this page. Owners who are interested in monitoring this information can visit this page at any time.

We continue to encourage staff and member-owners to take as many precautions as possible, not only while at the co-op, but also while living life outside of the co-op.

At this point, all who have chosen to be vaccinated, are vaccinated. We continue to strongly encourage vaccinations in the interest of public health, and we are eagerly awaiting OSHA guidance on the federal government's recent announcement of mandated vaccinations (or weekly testing) for employers with 100+ employees (Honest Weight currently has about 180 employees). For more information on vaccines, please visit the CDC's FAQ page here.

We continue to mandate that all staff and owners investing time wear face coverings while at the co-op. We also continue to ask that all who enter the co-op wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. We are pleased that the majority of shoppers do comply with this request, and while some do not, we do not feel comfortable asking our staff on the front lines to argue with those shoppers who are not wearing face coverings. 

We continue to maintain many additional safety precautions for staff and member-owners on shift. We are actively encouraging social distancing. We continue to offer and encourage the use of sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer throughout the co-op. We continue to deep clean all high-touch areas of the co-op throughout the day and at night. We have added nano septic sanitizing strips to high-touch points like our bathroom doors. Plexiglass barriers remain in place at our registers, juice & java station, sandwich station, cheese counter, meat & seafood counter. We continue to encourage staff to spread out while on shift and while on break; our Community Room remains as a secondary (and much larger) staff break room. We continue to limit in-store demoing and events. We continue to make KN95 masks and face shields available for all staff and member-owners, and single-use face coverings or face shields available for all shoppers. We continue to offer Instacart, Grubhub, and Doordash as home delivery options, as well as our own grassroots curbside pickup service on a limited basis for those in need. This list is not exhaustive, and we continue to evaluate our policies and procedures each day to look for ways to improve the safety of all.

As always, we are open to your input, thoughts, and feedback. We thank you all for continuing to support the co-op, whether it be as a shopper, an owner, a member-owner, or as staff.

Cooperatively,

Erin Martin CFO/Interim CCO 

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UPDATE (Tuesday, 8/3/2021)

  • We continue to mandate that all staff and member-owners wear face coverings while at the co-op. We also continue to ask that ALL who enter the co-op wear face coverings, regardless of vaccination status. 
  • In the interest of public health, we strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated. Learn more about the COVID-19 vaccination here.

 

UPDATE (Monday, 3/22/2021)

  • Early Bird Hours will conclude on Friday, April 2nd, 2021. Our regular hours of operation will be 8am to 9pm, seven days a week. Please check out the traffic flow chart above to find our least congested hours for shopping!
  • We are continuing to limit the number of shoppers in the building at a given time. If we're at capacity and queueing is necessary , you will find a staff person at the door. While we don't often have lines, please consider dressing for the weather, bringing an umbrella, etc., particularly during peak hours.

 

UPDATE (Monday, 10/19/2020)

  • All who enter the co-op must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth. There are no exceptions. We have a supply of single-use face coverings to offer you if you’ve forgotten yours. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a face covering, we encourage you to utilize our home delivery services via Instacart and Grubhub, or to give us a call and we will provide an accommodation.
  • We are extending our store hours to 8am - 9pm daily. Early bird hours for high risk and elder shoppers remain the same: 7am - 8am, Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
  • We are continuing to limit the number of shoppers in the building at a given time. When queueing is necessary, you will find a staff person at the door allowing one customer in as one customer exits.

 ALL POLICY AND OPERATIONS UPDATES IN ONE LITTLE-ISH LIST:

  • We are limiting the number of shoppers in the building at a given time. When queueing is necessary, you will find a staff person at the door allowing one customer in as one customer exits. Please consider sending only one person per household to shop, to assist us in managing traffic flow.
  • All who enter the co-op must wear a face covering over their nose and mouth. There are no exceptions. We have a supply of single-use face coverings to offer you if you’ve forgotten yours. If you are unable or unwilling to wear a face covering, we encourage you to utilize our home delivery services via Instacart and Grubhub, or to give us a call and we will provide an accommodation.
  • We have completely reorganized some areas of the co-op to allow for proper social distance while shopping - most notably, our produce department!
  • We have an abundance of sanitizing wipes and hand sanitizer available at the entrance and throughout the co-op.
  • We have over 100 signs and decals throughout the store pushing the message of 6 feet of social distancing. We are encouraging staff members to pause stocking and step off of the sales floor if an area feels especially busy at any given time.
  • We are trying out one-way aisles in some areas of the store. If you see arrows directing you, please abide by them. 
  • We have installed plexiglass screens in front of each register and in front of all service counters, to help keep our shoppers and our staff safer.
  • No new rain checks, special orders, or customer returns for the foreseeable future
  • We are limiting quantities purchased of certain items, please look out for signage at the shelf.
  • Cafe seating area is closed until further notice. We do have a bunch of awesome outdoor seating available!
  • We have reopened our Juice & Java bar, and Made-to-Order Sandwich Station with an abundance of safety precautions.
  • Our hot bar/salad bar are modified - we're offering prepared hot meals and prepared salads, rather than a serve-your-self option.
  • We are offering our olive bar in a new, prepackaged format!
  • Grab ‘n’ Go shelves are stocked with pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, sides, and more.
  • All classes and events are cancelled at least through April and until further notice.
  • We are ceasing passive sampling until further notice.
  • No physical EnviroTokens will be distributed.
  • We're maintaining hand sanitizing and sanitizing wipe stations at our entrance and throughout the store.
  • Our housekeeping team and all store departments have stepped up frequency of cleaning and sanitizing door handles and other surfaces. The store is closed for an additional two hours (8pm - 10pm) each evening purely for sanitation purposes.
  • For Member-Owner updates and a letter from our Board of Directors, click here.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

  • Wear a face covering, any time you may be interacting with others.
  • Wash your hands, frequently, including before shopping in the bulk department or in our deli. Visit this guide for proper steps for handwashing to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol when you can't wash your hands. 
  • Maintain safe social distancing of at least 6-feet from other shoppers and staff.
  • Use a credit, debit, or Co-op gift card instead of cash to minimize contact.
  • Practice good bulk shopping hygiene. Make sure your bulk containers are sanitized before you bring them into the store to fill up. Do not touch bulk scoops, spoons, tongs, or spigots directly to the mouth of your container.
  • This is the one time we're asking you to leave your travel mug at home.
  • Don’t grab food with your hands...ever! 
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow and sanitize or wash your hands afterward. Refrain from touching your face.
  • Stay home if you can, especially if you’re feeling unwell. If you do need to come in while you’re ill, please wear a mask if you have access to one, and practice great hygiene as outlined above.
  • Shop alone, to help us manage traffic flow. If possible, consider sending one person per household to do the shopping.
  • Order meals for delivery through our Grubhub account.
  • Member-Owners wondering about their time investment can visit here.
  • Be kind to one another. This is affecting us all, albeit in a variety of different ways, and all we can do is take care of ourselves and one another.

UPDATE (as of Tuesday, 5/12/2020)

Please be advised that as of May 11th, 2020, we have been notified that an employee of Honest Weight tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). We are in communication with the Albany County Department of Health and are following all recommended guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). As a response to protect the health and safety of our workforce and our customers, we are notifying our community members.

The individual is recovering at home on paid leave of absence and will not return to work until the appropriate amount of time has lapsed per Department of Health guidelines. They last worked at the co-op Tuesday, May 5th and Wednesday, May 6th, in the grocery department between the hours of 6am and 2pm. The employee tested positive Monday, May 11th.

We are working closely with the Albany County Department of Health, who will be directly reaching out to staff and member-owners who may have been within close contact with this employee on Tuesday, May 5th and/or Wednesday, May 6th (they did not work On May 3rd or 4th).

Across our co-op, we continue to ask any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home, contact our HR department, and notify their physician. Our co-op has a very generous paid time off policy. Since early March, we’ve worked closely on a case-by-case basis with all of our staff to ensure that they have the support that they need during these trying times.

Honest Weight prides itself on its cleanliness and food safety standards, and we are taking multiple steps to best serve you, care for our staff, and be a responsible member of our community. 

Increased safety and sanitation measures have been underway at the co-op since March 10th, including reduced store hours for additional deep cleaning from 8pm-10pm every day. We have implemented rigorous cleaning practices throughout our store, including more frequent cleanings of high-touch areas across our entire co-op. 

We began requiring our staff to wear face coverings on April 13th, and since April 16th, we have mandated face coverings for all who enter the co-op. We continue to provide our staff, and customers, with face coverings if they do not have their own. We continue to limit the number of shoppers in the building at any given time to no more than 50 in our 18,000 sq. ft. of retail space, to improve conditions for social distancing.

To learn more about the many additional steps we are taking to maintain a happy and healthy co-op, please see the list below.

We continue to remain open for business from 8:00am to 8:00pm daily, with Early Bird Hours for high-risk shoppers every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:00-8:00am. The decision to remain open has been advised by the Albany County Department of Health, who assures us that this positive test result does not make Honest Weight a higher risk environment than other public spaces.

For more information about COVID-19 in Albany County, including testing resources, visit the Albany County Department of Health’s Coronavirus News & Updates webpage: https://www.albanycounty.com/departments/health/coronavirus-covid-19

Thank you for your support during this public health crisis. We are committed to remain a trusted, reliable resource to our community.

UPDATE (as of Tuesday, 4/28/2020)

  • ALL who enter the Co-op are required to wear a covering over their mouth and nose. Governor Cuomo mandated this state-wide effective Friday, 4/16. We have a limited number of face coverings to offer those who do not have their own - if you refuse to wear a face covering, we reserve the right to ask you to leave. As per New York State, this applies to those over age 2 who can "medically tolerate" a mask or face covering. 
  • We are limiting the number of shoppers in the building at a given time. When queueing is necessary, you will find a staff person at the door allowing one customer in as one customer exits. Our foot traffic has naturally decreased by more than half (thank you to our shoppers for limiting their trips), so a line is not typical. 
  • We have completely reorganized some areas of the co-op to allow for proper social distance while shopping - most notably, our produce department!

 

MAKING A NO-SEW FACE MASK

Craft a no-sew face covering made from a handkerchief (or other 20”x20” square cotton cloth) or a T-shirt. The finished mask should fit snugly but comfortably against the side of the face and allow the wearer to breathe without restriction. Learn more from the CDC.

Making a D.I.Y. Mask

Order through Grubhub
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Wednesday, March 18th, 10:09am

NEW EARLY BIRD STORE HOURS 

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: Open to elderly and high risk shoppers 6am-8am 

Every Day: Open to all 8am-8pm


COVID-19 is teaching the world a whole slew of new words and phrases. Among them, flatten the curve, isolation cell, high-touch surfaces, shelter in place, social distancing.

In order to help us and our shoppers achieve the recommended precautionary actions and help keep safe those most vulnerable to the virus, Honest Weight is beginning new Early Bird Hours beginning Friday, March 20th. The store will open at 7am on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, when shopping will be restricted to elderly and high-risk members of our community until regular hours begin at 8am. 

Early Bird Hours will be largely staffed by our Marketing, Finance and HR Departments. Staffing will be limited and staff members will also be receiving deliveries and stocking shelves during that time. 

Limited staff and limited shoppers should allow everyone in the store to maintain safe social distancing, which is recommended at 6 feet or more. We ask that everyone who enters the store at any time practice social distancing, frequent handwashing, hand sanitizing, and general consideration for others. If you are feeling unwell, please stay home!

We will continue to close at 8pm until further notice to allow for deep cleaning, restocking, and to account for reduced staff hours as we encourage anyone feeling unsafe or unwell to stay home.  

Thank you for helping us keep our co-op safe and available to all.

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Tuesday, March 17th, 2020 6:37pm

Click here for information pertaining to Honest Weight Member-Owners
and ownership
time investments during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Monday, March 16th, 2020 1:17pm

A message about novel coronavirus (COVID-19) from Rick Mausert, Chief Cooperative Officer 

Dear Honest Weight Food Co-op Shoppers, Owners, and Staff,

We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the concerns around COVID-19 and its impact on our community. We take the health and safety of our Co-op community seriously, and want to assure you, our Owners and shoppers that we are taking every step to ensure best practices during this time. We are closely monitoring the current COVID-19 outbreak and following the recommendations of the CDC, FDA, and the New York State Department of Health. Below, you’ll find a general overview of how we are ensuring best practices in our store, including changes as of today, Monday, March 16th. We will keep this page updated as new information arises.

REDUCED HOURS

We are reducing our open hours to 8am-8pm beginning Wednesday, March 18th. This will allow us time for deep cleaning and restocking after closing, and account for reduced staff hours as we encourage anyone feeling unsafe or unwell to stay home.  

CHANGES TO THE DELI/PREPARED FOODS:

Per Governor Cuomo’s order earlier today that all restaurants close tonight, we have shut down the following deli offerings:

  • Hot bar, salad bar, and soup station are closed.
  • Made-to-order sandwiches are not available.
  • We are keeping our Grab ‘n’ Go shelves stocked with pre-packaged sandwiches, salads, sides, and more.
  • Our Juice + Java Station is open. However, as a precaution, we are not allowing patrons to use travel mugs at this time.
  • Our Cafe Seating area is closed
  • We encourage our shoppers to order to-go meals online through our Grubhub account.

SERVICE UPDATES

  • Reduced store hours--we’ll be open from 8am-8pm beginning Wednesday, March 18th.
  • Our Olive Bar is closed until further notice
  • No new rain checks for the foreseeable future
  • No new special orders for the foreseeable future
  • No customer returns for the foreseeable future

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

At the bottom of this blog post, you will find a list of resources provided for Albany County provided by the office of Mayor Sheehan. 

We appreciate your understanding during this uncertain time. Feel free to contact me with any concerns as the situation around COVID-19 develops.

Sincerely, 

Rick Mausert

 

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March 12th, 2020, 11:58am

Update to Honest Weight protocol:

In response to two newly confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the Capital Region, we are taking further steps to reduce risk for our shoppers and staff by ceasing all March in-store events. This includes all of our Classes and Practitioner Services, effective immediately.

The store will continue operating as normal (please see below for a list of added precautionary measures). Reducing the space used by the public will allow us to concentrate on the shopping floor for cleaning and disinfecting. 

Today's action is a precautionary measure. We are as disappointed as you are to cancel programs. Our staff and Member-Owners work hard to plan these programs and we know you enjoy participating in them.

We ask our community members to take great care, not only to protect yourself from illness, but to protect others, especially immunosuppressed and elderly people in our community, who may be at an increased risk.

We'll post any news updates here, as well as on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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March 10th, 2020, 3:38pm
hands using a sanitizing station at HWFC
Honest Weight Food Co-op is closely monitoring the information and updates on the novel coronavirus outbreak. We have committed to a number of practical precautions to help keep our staff, shoppers and community safe from unnecessary risk. We'll be updating this blog post as things change. Here’s what you can expect from Honest Weight today:
  • We're maintaining three hand sanitizing stations and two sanitizing wipe stations at our entrance and throughout the store.
  • Grateful Villages, a local nonprofit partner located two miles from the co-op, is producing hand sanitizer for sale in bulk at the co-op in accordance with World Health Organization standards in response to the scarcity of product from many of our normal national suppliers. This hand sanitizer is available both prepackaged and in our bulk wellness area, so you can fill your own clean containers if you wish. We’re also working with other local vendor partners like RAD Soap Co. and Earthly Remedies by Erin to source additional hand sanitizer as supply is available.
  • Our housekeeping team and all store departments have stepped up frequency of cleaning and sanitizing door handles and other surfaces
  • We are ceasing passive sampling until further notice. If you would like to try a cheese sample, as always, you can ask at the cheese counter.
  • We have temporarily adjusted our sick leave policy so that employees who feel unwell can take advantage of paid time off, whether or not they have hours in their sick leave bank.
  • Our wellness department, as always, has a vast selection of supplements to support your immune system. Stop by our wellness desk and ask someone from our knowledgeable team to guide you through the options. 
We're also looking to our shoppers to help keep our store clean and safe. Below are some guidelines and requests from Your Homegrown Grocery Store:
  • Wash your hands. We have sinks in our customer bathrooms and a sink in our café area. We especially recommend washing your hands before doing your shopping in the bulk department or in our deli.
  • Use hand sanitizer when you can't wash your hands. The CDC recommends alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. If you make your own hand sanitizer, please be sure to use alcohol with at least 60% strength.
  • Practice good bulk shopping hygiene. Make sure your bulk containers are sanitized before you bring them into the store to fill up. Please do not touch bulk scoops, spoons, tongs, or spigots directly to the mouth of your container.
  • Don’t grab food with your hands...ever! Please do not take food out of our pastry case or bulk bins with your bare hands. If you’re shopping with children, please advise them not to reach into bulk bins or play with bulk scoops/tongs.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow to limit spread of germs, and sanitize or wash your hands afterward. In general, refrain from touching your face in the store and in other public spaces. 
  • Stay home if you can. If you’re sick, please consider not coming into the store out of the consideration for our community members, which includes those who may have compromised immune systems or other conditions that put them at higher risk. If you do need to come in while you’re ill, please wear a mask if you have access to one, and practice great hygiene as outlined above.
 
Thanks for doing your part for our community! For more information and to keep track of the latest updates on COVID-19, visit the CDC's dedicated coronavirus webpage here.
 
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