Covid 19

Mar 17, 2020 | covid-19, Homepage

An abridged list of all changes to the Co-op as of: January 2022

Hours of Operation 

The store is open to all 8 am – 8 pm, every day.

Masks Recommended

The Belfast Co-op follows CDC recommendations to wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high community transmission, regardless of vaccination status.  We require our staff to wear masks and we recommend our shoppers and community wear masks while in our store.

We will continue to monitor guidance from national, state, and local legislative and regulatory bodies and inform the public prior to any and all changes. Return to this page for all current guidelines or updates.

Those who do not wish to enter the Co-op or are not able to do so are encouraged to use our free Shop for Me service. Details below.

Shopping at the Co-op

We are open to all 8am – 8pm, every day of the week.  No additional restrictions at this time.

If you want to shop without contact or just save time:  use our free “Shop for Me” – service.

Shop for Me is our free online grocery ordering with curbside pickup service.  Order online anytime, plan ahead as we have a limited number of slots each day, we may not be able to accommodate same-day service.  See the Shop for Me webpage for further details.

Additional Changes to operations:

  • Cafe seating and service and made to order food suspended for 2022.
  • Co-op Board of Directors meetings are conducted via Zoom video conferencing. 
    Owners may
    attend virtually, find details on the Board of Director’s page or Facebook.

Customer Expectations:

  • Please don’t come into the Co-op if you are exhibiting symptoms of illness.
  • If you are ill, please order online through Shop for Me and/or have someone else do your shopping or pick up your order for you.
  • Respect staff members’ personal space and privacy.
  • Plan your shopping trip for several days or for the week ahead.
  • Please be kind, considerate, and patient. Thank you!

Additional actions we’re taking 

  • When possible, we have staff clean carts and baskets
  • We have added contact-less hand sanitizer pumps to various locations in-store
  • We are regularly cleaning carts, baskets, and high-touch surfaces
  • Our Front End staff are equipped with cleaner and/or sanitizer for each checkout
  • All staff are supported in staying home to reduce the spread

This page will continue to have updates as we make necessary changes.  We will continue to message out these changes through our e-newsletter, Facebook, Instagram, and our website.

Thank you for continuing to support your community’s Co-op.  Please reach out with any comments, questions, or concerns to

Our original post regarding the Covid-19 outbreak
Thank you all for your courage and dedication in the face of this crisis. Please reach out if you have questions or concerns that are not addressed to We will do our best to address concerns as they come and we are closely watching the situation as it develops. We are taking all possibilities and actions into consideration and are consulting with national groups and consultants. We will be updating this webpage with developments and adjustments as they are decided or implemented.  (see the first message from our GM here)

Updated Jan. 22

Updated page for clarity.  No major changes.

Update 09/01/21

Updated page for clarity.  No major changes.

Update 07/07/21

Front of store reconfigured to remove customer waiting area.  We are no longer metering the number of customers in the store.

Update 06/29/21

Updated page to reflect Masks Recommended guidelines for the store starting June 30th, 2021.

Update 06/19/21

Co-op General Manager, Doug Johnson, released a statement in response to the ending of Maine’s State of Civil Emergency and the last remaining face-covering requirement in Maine on June 30. The Belfast Co-op will be ending our mask requirement in the store, Wednesday, June 30th. Although the seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the county has fallen, shoppers and workers are still encouraged to wear masks and social distance while in the store (per Maine CDC recommendations).  Read the full statement:

Update 06/05/21

Co-op General Manager, Doug Johnson, released a statement on our current position:

Update 05/21/21

Belfast Co-op values the safety and wellbeing of our workers and the community we serve. In keeping with that goal, we will be maintaining existing practices (mask requirements for all people in store, shopper metering, enhanced sanitation, and health screens for workers) past the lifting of the Maine mask mandate on May 24.  These guidelines are in place for all regardless of a person’s vaccination status. Shop for Me is our free service available to all if you are unable to come into the store.

On May 13, Governor Mills announced that as of May 24 many of the restrictions put in place to curtail Covid-19 transmission in the state would be lifted in accordance with the revised CDC guidelines.  Those guidelines included the removal of indoor gathering limits and an announcement that vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks.  Businesses continue to be allowed to set their own mask policies. 

We will continue to monitor guidance from national, state and local legislative and regulatory bodies. 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 (this page): for any and all updates regarding our guidelines.

Questions or concerns may be directed to:   Management will respond within 24 hours.

Update 05/15/21

With the rollback of the CDC’s mask guidelines for fully vaccinated individuals, we want to remind our shoppers that Maine still has a mask mandate in place.  Belfast Co-op continues to require all workers and shoppers to wear masks that fully cover mouth and nose while in the store and in our waiting area.  Shop for Me is our free service available to all if you are unable to come into the store.

We will continue to provide updates on any operational changes related to the COVID-19 pandemic and encourage our community to continue to follow the recommendations that keep our neighbors and families safe.  

You may read the updates as of May 13, 2021 on the CDC website:  

Update 03/02/21

Updated page for clarity and content.  No change to operations.

Update 11/11/20

As a grocery store, the Co-op is an essential business serving the public every day. We are committed to putting reasonable procedures in place to limit risk to our staff and customers.  Effective Monday November 16th, Belfast Co-op will now be requiring everyone to wear a face covering for the duration of their time in the store. We are requiring this change through the busy holiday season and will reassess in early January. This change is in accordance with Executive Order 16 FY 20/21 and current CDC guidelines.

Those who do not wish to wear an acceptable face covering or are not able to do so are encouraged to use our Shop for Me service.

 Acceptable face coverings include masks and neck gaiters that have at least two layers.
 Face shields, bandanas, plastic mouth shields, and scarves will no longer be acceptable as alternatives.

Update 9/15/20

The Co-op will be expanding our hours of operation starting Thursday, October 1st.  We will open one hour earlier, 9 am to everyone.  Our hours of operation will be 9 am – 8 pm, every day.

Update 7/31/20

The Maine Dept of Economic & Community Development, where we get our checklist for retail COVID-19 compliance, recently lifted the ban on reusable bags. This is likely due to mounting evidence that surface contraction is not the way the virus spreads.  Customers may now bring in their own reusable bags and bulk containers.

Update 7/22/20

Starting Wednesday, July 22nd, the Co-op will resume taking containers with a deposit and redeemable bottles.  In order to avoid overwhelming our staff and the farmers and delivery people who pick-up the containers, we are limiting redemption to 5 containers per shopping visit.  Customers will drop-off and exchange their bottles in the Co-op entryway.  In order to further limit contact, Staff will provide a slip to be turned in at the register of the corresponding amounts.

Thank you for your patience!

Update 6/26/20

Starting Wednesday, July 1st, the Co-op will expand our hours of operation to 10 am – 8 pm every day.  There will no longer be a reserved hour for immune-compromised shoppers due to changes to the Governor’s order.

Update 6/10/20

The Co-op will now be open for business on Sunday. We will be open to all shoppers 11 am-5 pm and reserving the 10 am-11 am hour for shoppers who are at risk or senior individuals.  Please note, Sunday’s hours are slightly different than the rest of the week.  The rest of the week will continue the current hours.

Update 4/30/20

Effective as of Friday May 1, In response to Gov. Mills’ updated executive order, the Co-op will now require all shoppers and staff to wear a facial covering before entering and while in the Co-op. If customers do not have a cloth face covering that allows them to shop hands-free, they will not be allowed in. This means it must be securely attached to their face and does not require frequent adjustments or holding in place. Examples include handmade cloth masks, bandanas, scarves, etc.

We are following the executive order as stated, including the exceptions.

We understand that this evokes strong feelings and we are doing the best we can to adapt to changes, responses, feedback, and requirements. These are difficult times and we WILL get through this together- with kindness and understanding.

Go here to learn more about Governor Mills’s plan: RESTARTING MAINE’S ECONOMY

Update 4/16/20

Changes to operations, effective Monday 4/20:

In our continuing effort to create a safe environment for our shoppers and workers, starting Monday, April 20 we will be further reducing the hours that the Co-op is open to the public.  We will be open to all shoppers 11 am-6 pm Monday – Saturday and reserving the 10 am-11 am hour for shoppers who are at risk or senior individuals.  We will remain closed on Sundays.

We will also be changing our staffing to allow for our online ordering with curbside pick-up program (Shop for Me) to be fulfilled in the mornings of each day starting before we open.  Additional stocking and clearing will be done later in the day past closing.  We will have less staff working during the hours we are open to the public. The intent of all these changes is to further limit the number of people present in the store and on the sales floor at any given time.

The Shop for Me online ordering guidelines and system will also be changing over the weekend – orders will be organized by day only (no more time slot reservation) all fulfillment, phone calls, and pick-up expectations.  For full details and new changes see the Shop for Me webpage starting Sunday 4/19 at 11 am.

Update 4/01/20

Changes to operations, effective immediately:

The Co-op is complying with Governor Mills’ order regarding the pandemic through the following changes:

  • We are reserving the first hour of business (9am-10am) for shoppers who are seniors and those who are at greater risk.
  • We are limiting the number of shoppers in the store at any given time.  We will have staff at the entrance who will inform and guide shoppers before they enter the store. Guidelines: one shopper per household* during your visit, please only touch items you intend to buy, use electronic payment (if possible), and maintain the requested distance between yourself and others. (*those with a child or those who need assistance may enter as well)

Update 3/28/20

see our GM’s letter of 3/28  and explanation of the following changes here

Changes to operations, effective immediately:

  • No product returns
  • No reusable bags
  • No bottle returns
  • No reused bulk containers 

Social Distancing guidelines for cashier stations are placed at each register to reinforce the required 6′ distance between people.

  • This upcoming week we will install acrylic shields at each register to better reinforce the need for physical distance.

Shop for Me – Curbside pickup program update

The program is doing well with increased participation every day.  To use the service, please go to (  On a few occasions, we have had to limit use to keep up with demand.  We have plans to implement further systems to make it more streamlined and efficient for customers and workers alike.   Thank you for using this service as it better protects all of us.

From Doug, our GM:

 Thank you for being so kind and understanding as we adjust to new procedures.  We need your support now and we will continue to need it in the weeks and months to come.  I know that this is difficult for all of us, but we will get through it together. Our co-op will survive.  Our community will survive.  

Update 3/22/20

Changes to operations:

*Beginning 3/29, the Co-op will be closed on Sundays. This change will give all workers a much-needed break (physically and mentally) and allow us to adapt to our changing sales performance. Monday-Friday hours will continue to be 9 am-7 pm.

* Shop for Me (personal shopping with curbside pick up) will be starting up Monday 3/23 10 am. Links are now up on the homepage.

* The Deli cafe will remain closed but is still providing prepared and packaged options.  The selections currently available from the deli may be viewed via links on the homepage and the deli webpage. The cafe will be used as the staging area for the Shop for Me service.

Changes to staffing:

* Workers whose jobs allow and wish to work from home are being given that opportunity.

* Many departments are experiencing staffing changes as many workers opt to self-isolate/socially distance during this time for a variety of reasons.  Co-op management is continually adapting to the changes to ensure minimal disruption to the store’s operations.  We are doing all we can to provide work to those staff affected by the disruption.

Every day brings new challenges and new adventures for us as we navigate our current reality. Thank you for your kindness and understanding during these unprecedented times. Thank you for continuing to support your community’s Co-op.  Please reach out with any comments, questions, or concerns to

Update 3/19/20

Effective Friday March 20, 2020 we will be temporarily changing our operating hours to be 9am to 7pm.

We are doing this with our whole community in mind to give workers a chance to breathe, to provide more time for restocking our shelves, and to have the store thoroughly cleaned and sanitized at the beginning and end of each work shift. 

We are also discontinuing drip coffee service to reduce touchpoints.

Signs will be going up around the store emphasizing our expectations for customers. Included in this messaging: 

* Don’t come into the Co-op if you are exhibiting symptoms

 * Sanitize your hands before entering the Co-op

* Don’t ask to shake hands with any staff member

* Remove knit gloves before shopping

* Only touch products you intend to buy

* Respect staff members’ personal space 

* Don’t linger in the store any longer than necessary

* Consider using electronic payments if possible

Progress on the virtual shopper program continues.  Hopefully launching Monday.  We will announce it when ready.

The Board of Director’s meeting on Thursday March 26th will be held via teleconference.  Folks interested in joining in are asked to e-mail to be given a link.

Every day as this crisis progresses we are faced with new challenges and we rise to meet them.  

Update 3/18/20

Out of Concern for our Community and for the health and safety of all

we are suspending the following:

Effective Immediately 

All Store

  • All pre-orders (due to supply issues)

Deli & Bakery

  • Deli Café seating 
  • All made to order food
  • Some service case items 
  • Salads and sandwiches

Meat & Cheese

  • Sausage production
  • Cutting of meat 

Events & Outreach

  • All samples and demos
  • All events- classes and gathering

What we’re doing 

  • We have added hand sanitizer pumps to various locations instore
  • We are upping our cleaning schedules of carts, baskets, and surfaces
  • Our Front End staff are equipped with a mild bleach solution for each checkout
  • All staff are supported in staying home to reduce the spread

We are actively pursuing a Virtual Shopping option for curbside pickup. It is not ready yet, but we will hopefully be launching within the coming days. We will make an announcement when it’s ready for use.

Please watch this page and our Facebook page for additional updates as they occur. Every day we are learning more and adapting to the reality we all live in. We are committed to providing the best service we are able to all of our community.  

And we know you’ve heard it before, but please, cover your cough.  Stay home if you are ill- and wash your hands. 

See the responses elsewhere in Belfast and the area here:

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