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LOCAL NEWS: Astoria Co-op goes all out to protect customers, workers from COVID-19

LOCAL NEWS: Astoria Co-op goes all out to protect customers, workers from COVID-19

If there’s one local business that’s a model of being corona virus-ready, it is the Astoria Co-op. Starting today, the co-op will add curbside pick-up.  Coast Community Radio’s Jacob Lewin reports:

Co-op Manager Matt Stanley says compared to a couple of weeks ago, going shopping at his store is a very different experience:

Matt Stanley: “You come up to the store and it’s likely that you’re going to queue outside. We’re asking people to stay six feet away from each other in the queue, and we’ve marked off on the ground where you stand. We’ve got some heaters out there that will be running on the cold, rainy days and they’ll be under an awning.”

There’s hourly sanitation of touch spots, bulk foods and the salad and hot bars are closed, no cash is accepted nor can you bring in reusable bags. There’s also a new policy in produce:

Matt Stanley:“If you touch it, you buy it….It’s a different way to shop. You’ve just got to commit to what you touche so that we don’t spread this around anymore than we need to.”

Since cashiers can’t be six feet away from shoppers, the store has installed plexiglass shields. For vulnerable customers, starting today you can phone or e-mail in orders for curbside pick-up and for a flat fee of five dollars in Astoria and Warrenton, you can get Downtown Taxi to pick up and deliver the order. The co-op has also trimmed hours to allow more time to sanitize and to give stressed-out employees a bit of a break:

Matt Stanley: “Most people have been super appreciative of all these measures, but we have had some grumbly people and/or people who don’t think this is real, and we’re not going to tolerate that. We really need people to follow the rules.”

Stanley is expected the changes to last a few months. Oh, and toilet paper? Maybe later this week.

I’m Jacob Lewin for Coast Community Radio.