On May 23rd we responded to the changes in CDC and Maine State mask guidance by issuing a statement that the Belfast Co-op was not changing our policies and that in order to ensure the highest level of safety for all shoppers and workers, we will continue to require masks of all while in our store regardless of a person’s vaccination status. In the two weeks since the announcement many owners and shoppers have offered words of support for the decision while some have had questions and concerns.
As we see our neighboring businesses open up there is increasing pressure for the Co-op to relax the precautions that we have put in place this past year, a pressure that is felt throughout the organization. The balance now becomes between acknowledging that much of our community has moved on and continuing to protect the safety and privacy of our workers and customers. The current guidelines from the CDC only apply to fully vaccinated individuals. We are not requiring any worker or shopper to provide documentation of vaccination status, and in solidarity with those that are not able to get the vaccine or that are caring for young children that are not able to get the vaccine, at this time we will continue to ask everyone to mask up. This issue has become increasingly divisive in our community and the best way we can ease out of this past year is by listening to our workers and our shoppers and continuing to look out for each other.
To the members of our community that take issue with how we have comported ourselves throughout this pandemic or with how we are currently operating, I would ask that you put yourselves in the shoes of the co-op worker that has shown up every day to serve this community over the last year. Despite personal fears or anxieties, despite their own beliefs or views, Co-op workers have been putting themselves at physical and psychological risk day in and day out so that our community can have what they need. The least you can grant them is respect for their contribution to keeping your neighbors fed and patience to allow them to come through the final days of this pandemic at their own pace.
We will most likely begin removing or weakening some restrictions in the next few weeks, which I want to prepare customers and workers for with as much advance as I am able. The seven day average of Covid-19 cases in our county continues to decline, and though it is not zero, it is moving in the right direction. We will continue to monitor and update you as we make progress towards fully opening up. We have done so well preventing this disease from taking hold in our community. Let’s finish the job.
-Doug Johnson, Co-op GM
We will continue to provide updates on any operational changes and encourage our community to continue to follow all the recommendations that keep our neighbors and families safe. You may go to our website: belfast.coop/covid-19 for any and all updates regarding our guidelines.
Questions or concerns may be directed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Management will respond within 24 hours.