From the General Manager, April 1, 2022
Happy April. Yesterday the CDC moved Washington County into its medium community level, meaning they are no longer recommending masking indoors in public. Given this and the long-term trend in declining cases and hospitalizations associated with COVID-19, the Co-op will adopt a mask-optional policy beginning Monday, April 4.
Ideally, we would want multiple weeks in the low community level category. However, other than last week, we have seen a clear trend of decreasing cases from the Omicron peak in mid-January. Our hospital admissions and capacity metrics are reassuring. Regionally, other than Essex County in Vermont, all New England counties are now in the low category. It is also clear that many community members now have strong negative feelings about mask requirements. The Co-op has taken an intentionally conservative approach regarding all COVID precautions, and we feel now is the time to go mask optional.
Going forward, we will continue to offer curbside pick-up at no additional fee. We will maintain the plexiglass shields at our deli counter and registers for the foreseeable future. Our café will remain closed for now as well, although that decision is driven more by a shortage of workers as well as a need for storage space. As the warmer weather returns, we will add additional outside seating.
Of course, if the risk picture shifts significantly, we will be prepared to pivot to protect our community.
As I shared in my prior update, we recognize that there is no single decision that would be supported by all Co-op members, shoppers, employees, and local vendors. For those who have questions or concerns, I ask that you contact me directly. Thank you for your patience and support.