Keeping people safe was of prime importance. Emails were flying around between committee members who were diligent and supportive of keeping it going if we could. After consultation with Callum Morrison, BRC Public Health Officer, we fine-tuned the procedures for the Food Co-op to continue serving our members. Many of our customers have been shopping for nearly nine years, so it would be a grave shame if we had to shut altogether. I was reassured by Callum's comment that, “We are providing an essential service". Callum was very impressed with our efforts and at no time indicated a necessity to close the co-op.
Numerous procedures have been implemented, along with the basic hygiene principals such as: no one entering until hands have been washed in hands free basin, no touching of body, not coming in to the food co-op if you are unwell and limiting the customers to three at a time, which was well under four square metres per person.
Any points of possible direct contamination between customers, customers' containers, duty members, and food co-op products has been eliminated by wearing gloves and thoughtful procedures that might look bizarre, if not dealing with a pandemic crisis. We have also had to tell our customers that children must remain home.
Another idea that came up was to make a short video. If you wish to view the video outlining our procedure, Ctrl and Click on the following link: Benalla Food Co Op COVID-19 procedures.mp4
Members have been patient, supportive and as committed as always to continue shopping at the food co-op.
Benalla Food Co-op Coordinator