Updates on COVID-19

Updates on COVID-19

September 20, 2021

We are very strongly encouraging everyone to wear a mask into the co-op. The entirety of Wisconsin and its surrounding states are all at high transmission levels.

August 19, 2021

We greatly appreciate those wearing masks into the co-op. We strongly advise all people to wear a mask into the store, as the CDC has updated their recommendation to, “If you are fully vaccinated, to maximize protection from the Delta variant and prevent possibly spreading it to others, wear a mask indoors in public if you are in an area of substantial or high transmission.” Both Ashland and Bayfield counties are at substantial risk.

June 11, 2021

Starting on Monday, June 14th, we will be relaxing our mask policy. Those not fully vaccinated are required to wear masks and all else are strongly encouraged to continue wearing masks inside of our store.

We are going keep our immune compromised hours from 7:30AM – 9AM during which time, masks will be required for all customers in the store.

All employees will be wearing masks, and we hope you do too.

We still offering online ordering with curbside pick-up Tuesday – Friday for those who find it more convenient and/or safe.

May 19, 2021

Despite the recent changes to the CDC guidelines allowing vaccinated individuals to go without masks in indoor spaces, the Chequamegon Food Co-op will not be lifting our mask mandate. Both the county and the city of Ashland have mask mandates still in place, and as an individual business we still have our own right to keep our mandate in place. We continue to monitor changes at local, state, and national levels and will continue to make our decisions so that our employees and customers feel safe working and shopping here. As always, thanks for everyone’s cooperation to continue to wear a mask and keep each other safe.

April 19, 2021

We have made the decision to allow your bulk containers in the store again! The CDC has highlighted that COVID-19 is not commonly transmitted through contact surfaces. However, if you can please make a conscious effort to bring in clean containers, it would make our staff and fellow customers more comfortable seeing and handling the containers. Thank you.

April 5, 2021

Even with the Wisconsin mask mandate being lifted recently, it will remain our store policy that everyone who comes into our store wears a mask properly. We respect the decision of the state, and each individuals choice to follow this on your own accord, but as a high-trafficked public space, we are continuing to enforce our mask policy for the safety and sanity of our customers and employees. As always, we continue to closely monitor COVID-19 in our area, continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines, and offer online shopping with curbside pick-up.

Thank you to all those respecting our mask policy and keeping our community safe! We realize it has been just over a year since the start of this pandemic, and none of us wanted this to last this long, but we are in this together till the end.

March 12, 2021

Wow! It’s has been a year! We are happy to say that many of our employees have been getting their first dose of the vaccine over the past few days, and more will be over the next week! We are still here and continuing to make the co-op the safest place you can shop to give you peace of mind, whether your choose to walk in the store, or order online for curbside pick-up.

We have just changed our cart sanitization protocol (now that you finally got used to bringing your cart back for us to sanitize). We now are offering sanitizer wipes as you walk in the door to sanitize your own cart. As mentioned in the update below, there is more and more science coming out that COVID-19 is rarely transmitted through contact surfaces. 

December 14, 2020

We are deciding to open the bulk aisle again after talking it over with the county health department, and only after taking in all the considerations they had to give us. Liz from the county, who issued the directive earlier which has now expired, has no intention of re-instating the order. There is more and more science coming out that COVID-19 is rarely transmitted through contact surfaces. 

We will require anyone who uses the bulk section to sanitize their hands or wear gloves while getting what they need. We still ask you to refrain from bringing in your own containers. If you feel uncomfortable dispensing or scooping products, you can always ask an employee to do this for you. We also have some pre-bagged bulk options available. We will also continue to sanitize the stores surfaces every two hours – including the bulk container handles.  We would also like to remind you as we are amidst the holiday season to please take the necessary precautions to stay safe while many people are out and traveling. Please remember:

  • If you have been in prolonged contact with people outside of your normal cohort, without masks, please make an order online. 
  • If you plan on traveling, make a plan for yourself to get tested and/or quarantine. 
  • You must wear a mask properly to enter the co-op.
  • Make a list, get what you need, and get out so your visit as short as possible.
  • Shop early in morning or in the evening when it is less busy.
  • Shop on Sunday when it is less busy. 

Since our last update, we have also started making all employees take their temperature at the door, before they come in for work.

Thank you, and stay safe! As always, please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about this. 

October 2, 2020

We have closed the bulk section until further notice, following the most recent health directive from Ashland County Public Health Department. You can find this directive here. All self-serve areas of our store will be handled by employees so that you can still check everything off your grocery list. We have some pre-packaged items ready for you, but if there are other products you would like, please ask an employee to bag those items for you. We are happy to help, and keep our community healthy.

As a friendly reminder, face coverings are required in store and must cover both your nose and mouth at all times. If you have trouble covering your nose, you must have a face shield in addition to a face mask covering your mouth. Please help yourself to hand sanitizer around the store, keep 6ft distance between yourself and others, and do not come into the store if you have been sick or traveling far distances. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us before entering the store. 715-682-8251

The online ordering/curbside pick-up form can be found here. Please utilize this service for the safety of our community.

August 12, 2020

Chequamegon Food Coop is requiring face coverings of all people in the store. Please help keep our community safe by wearing a face covering properly during your entire visit to our store. A face covering must be covering your moth and nose, with no tears or vents. If you are unable to wear a mask due to medical conditions, consider wearing a loose fitting bandanna around the mouth and nose, or the combination of a face mask over the mouth with the addition of a face shield. We also have online ordering with curbside pickup. The order form is found here. If you are are unable to shop in person due to a mask wearing issue, please use the code: HASM20 to waive the convenience fee. If you are having any trouble with the form or have questions, please contact our store at 715-682-8251.

July 24, 2020

We’ve opened up the North section of our bulk department to self-service. This includes bulk coffee, nuts, trail mixes, rices and some beans. Please wash or sanitize your hands prior to dispensing items into bags. We also have latex gloves for folks to use if needed. Following the directive of our local health department, we are not allowing the use of reusable bags or containers from home. The bulk bin handles are sanitized every two hours along with all other high-touch areas of our store.

July 15, 2020

On Tuesday morning, Ashland and Bayfield Counties jointly released a Public Health Advisory requiring face coverings. This advisory is effective Friday, July 17 2020. You may read the entire press release here.

Absent a vaccine or medication, the tools we have to combat COVID-19 are to wear a mask, socially distance and vigorously clean our store. At the co-op we want to continue offering the safest experience inside our store for members, shoppers and especially for our staff. Thus, in tandem with Ashland and Bayfield Counties Health Advisory, the co-op will begin requiring face coverings starting Friday, July 17 at 7:30am.

We are confident that many of you will be happy with this decision. We hope to hear your voices of support. And of course, some of our customers will not support our decision. To this group, we hope the act of keeping our amazing staff healthy both mentally and physically is enough to wear a mask. In turn, we wear a mask for your health. We are taking every precaution because we want to prevent the spread of this infectious disease, keep our fellow main street businesses open, and our friends, neighbors, co-workers and children healthy.

If you happen to forget your mask, but are at the store, call us and we’ll bring one out to you. If you have trouble wearing a mask due to health reasons we’d like to offer you curbside pick-up via online ordering (find our curbside order form here). It is in our nature to accommodate our shoppers, however, if you refuse to wear a mask, we will ask you to leave. Thank you for keeping our staff and community healthy.

July 1, 2020

  • We have run out of our free mask supply. We do have masks for sale, we ask that people please be considerate toward the health of others and wear a mask in our store. We are requiring masks between 7:30am – 9:00am our immune-compromised/senior hour.
  • The Ashland Farm Market has relocated to Chappel Ave and is held on Saturdays from 8am-12pm. Our store has seen an increase of activity during those hours. We hope that those visiting our store from the market will wear a mask, as a reminder we do require masks during the hours of 7:30am-9am.
  • We are temporarily unable to accept product returns, egg cartons or allow the use of containers to fill bulk items. However, you may use your reusable shopping bags to carry your grocery items home.

June 22, 2020

Just a few reminders. Out an abundance of caution, we are still following a few precautions.

  • We are reserving shopping for our immune-compromised community members and seniors during the hours between 7:30 am – 9:00 am. We are requiring that those in the store wear a mask.
  • We are unable to accept empty/used egg cartons at this time.
  • You may use reusable grocery bags to carry your groceries home, but we ask you to kindly bag your own groceries.
  • Other containers from home such as containers to fill bulk items and produce bags are still restricted.
  • We are nearly running out of our free mask supply, we thank you for considering our health by wearing a mask in the store.

June 1, 2020

We are extending our hours beginning June 1, 2020. Our new hours starting 6/1 are: 7:30am- 8pm, 7 days a week.

May 25, 2020 – 10am

It’s been about a month since our last update. We wanted to post an update as the latest Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling and warmer weather have led to increased visitation and activity in our area. The Chequamegon Food Co-op is committed to the health and safety of our employees and our customers, and so we will remain devoted to changes we’ve made in the store until further guidance is given by our local health department. Behind the scenes we are discussing long term changes to our store. Changes in departments like our bulk section, our deli department and how we enhance our online ordering experience. Check out some more immediate changes that we’ve made below.

  • Store Hours: We are open 7:30am – 7pm, 7 days a week. Our online ordering/curbside pick-up is available Monday – Friday.
  • Curbside Pick Up: We have a basic online order form available on our website. Fill out the form, we’ll shop for you and once you’ve paid we’ll walk your groceries to your car for curbside pick-up. This service is available Monday – Friday.
  • Capacity Limit: Our local health department has recommended that we limit our in-store capacity to 25% occupancy. We have protocol in place if we reach our maximum. First we will remove non-essential employees. Second, we’ll restrict the entrance to additional shoppers for a short period. We have been monitoring this for two weeks currently and have yet to reach our maximum. If at any time you are in the store and feel uncomfortable, do not hesitate to approach an employee with your concern. Because of this recommended limit, we are asking that folks shop one member per household. We do realize that individuals might need to shop with family members and in those cases, we will not restrict you in doing so.
  • Masks: For the health and safety of our employees and customers, we are asking that people wear a mask while shopping. We are not requiring that folks wear a mask. We do have free masks available if you happen to leave your mask in the car or do not have one.
  • Cleaning Schedule: Our front-end team is cleaning register areas, conveyor belts, credit card machines, baskets, and carts after each use. During open hours in the remainder of the store we are cleaning high touch surfaces every two hours.
  • Area Visitors: We encourage those of you who are planning on visiting to use our on-line curbside pick-up for groceries. We know that you might not be sick, but please know that this service is available to everyone, not just members. 

March 23, 2020 – 12pm

  • Senior Hour: We would like to invite seniors, immunocompromised residents and other vulnerable populations to visit our store from 7:30am – 8:30am. Please respect the health of this population and allow them to access the store during this hour.
  • Store Hours: We will be changing our store hours beginning on Wednesday, March 25. New store hours will be 7:30am – 6pm, 7 days a week. We are closing early for a few reasons. First, this extra time will allow our staff to restock shelves and clean the store without interruptions. Customer service is very important to us. Second, this will allow for less persons on our floor
  • This Thursday 3/26: We will be opening late. Our hours on March 26 will be 11am – 6pm. We will use this time to do our quarterly inventory and move our bulk section to grab and go.
  • Health of our Employees: Our employees health is so important to us. Please do not compromise their health by; coming to the store if you’ve been traveling to a compromised area, spending lots of time in the store, kindly keep a 3-6 foot distance from our staff, if you have any symptoms of a cold, please do not come in, if you have a house mate with symptoms, please do not come in. If you have been asked to quarantine, please do not come in. We have curbside pick-up available and are happy to be of service in this way. We thank you so much for abiding by these requests. Please find the on-line form here.

March 19, 2020 – 4pm

We are continuing to change our current way of serving customers due to the COVID-19 virus. Our updates are as follows.

  • We are removing staff from the deli starting at 4pm on Friday. Most items in our deli are grab-and-go and can be found in the grab-and-go cooler. If you have questions, do not hesitate to ask a staff member on the floor. We are happy to help.
  • We would like to invite seniors, immunocompromised residents and other vulnerable populations to visit our store in our first hour of operation. Our store is fairly empty from 7:30-8:30, we have hot grab-and-go breakfast items if people are interested, and the store has been deep cleaned the night before and is at its cleanest!
  • We have postponed our Annual Meeting which was scheduled for April 18.
  • We will continue to hold Board Elections. You can vote in three ways. Your Spring edition of the Grapevine has a ballot. Fill it out and mail or drop it by the store. We have extra ballots in-store by the ballot box. You can also vote on-line. Please click here to find the form and read about the candidates. Voting will be closed April 18 at 5pm.
  • We can offer curbside pick up for those in need. We can take your order over the phone or on-line. Please find the on-line form here.
  • We can no longer accept special orders.
  • You may notice some of our staff wearing light protective gear, and standing from a distance. We hope you understand as they are on the front lines of this highly contagious virus.
  • Please do not come in if you are sick. We thank you.

We would like to thank those who have given us complements and praise. Your kind words, smiles and good spirits mean the world to us. We appreciate all of our customers and will continue to do everything we can to maintain great customer service.

March 17, 2020 – 4pm

Tony Evers, Governor of Wisconsin has just ordered bars and restaurants to close at 5pm central time on March 17, 2020.

What does that mean for the Chequamegon Food Co-op?

  1. We have closed our deli-seating area.
  2. Our deli is working toward full grab-and-go service. Until we can set-up all items to be grab-and-go our staff will assist you with service. Just ring the bell!
  3. Our bulk department, including spices are no longer available for self-service. We do have staff on-hand to assist you. We are working toward pre-weighed packages for you to grab.
  4. We have temporarily suspended the use of reusable plates, bowls and containers.
  5. Our March 19 Community Meal is available for to-go orders only. Please call us to pre-order (715) 682-8251. Kindly have your credit card ready for payment.

March 16, 2020

At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Ashland, Bayfield or Iron County, but as this situation continues to develop, we want you to know that we are proactively preparing for a possible outbreak or service interruption at our co-op.

Chequamegon Food Co-op is committed to keeping our doors open and our shelves stocked so you can continue to pick up any of the resources you need. The safety of our shoppers and staff is our priority, and we will be following all local, state, and federal recommendations during this outbreak.

What We’re Doing Now

  • We are monitoring the guidelines for the food industry as established by the Wisconsin Department of Health Services and the CDC and will follow recommendations.
  • We are using cleaning supplies that are effective against COVID-19.
  • We have implemented an even more thorough & frequent cleaning schedule of common surfaces such as shopping carts, basket handles, light switches, door handles, payment machines, scales, bathroom areas, bulk areas, deli common areas and other public surfaces.
  • We are changing most of our deli service to grab and go. Until we can switch most of our hot bar, salad bar and soups to grab and go, our deli staff will serve you.
  • While we always expect our staff to wash their hands, we are reminding and encouraging more frequent washing of hands.
  • We are encouraging our staff to stay home if they feel sick. We have a generous sick and vacation policy and we will work with each employee to make sure that they have the support they need in making healthy choices.
  • We are focused on maintaining a good supply of our usual merchandise, as well as additional emergency preparedness items that you might need. We encourage you to special order items! Our members receive 10% off bulk special orders.
  • Just as a precaution, we are pausing our passive sampling and wellness testers. We are also moving our Cheeky Monkey apples, bananas and carrots to the front of our produce area.
  • Also, as a precaution, we are placing disposable towels in our bathrooms for people to utilize in place of our reusable towels.
  • All classes and group gatherings in our community room will be postponed until local schools resume.
  • Our upcoming Community Meal with Copper Pasty on March 19 will continue as scheduled. We are taking to-go pre-orders over the phone. To order, please call us at (715) 682-8251 and have your payment ready.

How We’ve Been Affected So Far

Supply on some shelf-stable items has tightened, and this has led to a few out-of-stocks. Products currently affected are bathroom tissues, hand sanitizers, and some cleaning supplies and many wellness items. Our manufacturers are trying to replenish inventories as quickly as possible, and we are doing our best to keep items in stock by increasing order quantities or finding alternate sources when available. If you are in search of a particular product that may be out of stock at our store, feel free to give us a call, and we’ll be happy to check our inventory for you.

What We’ll Do if Cases Are Confirmed in our Area

  • We will cancel events into April, and potentially into May. This includes community classes and our Annual Meeting scheduled for Saturday, April 18. Refunds will be issued for any cancelled classes or events.
  • We may temporarily suspend the use of reusable plates and bowls.
  • We may ask customers to suspend or limit the use of cash.
  • As always, we will do everything we can to work through scheduling issues with our staff. No disciplinary action will be issued to staff for absences during this time. If sick, we encourage staff to see a doctor, but will not require a doctors note from them to excuse their absence.
  • In the event of a mandatory quarantine, a store shut down, or a supply chain disruption, we will be prepared to address the need for essential functions of the business to be performed in a different manner.

What You Can Do

  • If you know you have had contact with someone that is a presumptive positive case of coronavirus, please stay home. Please do not send your family members, or anyone else with whom you have had contact, to the store.
  • If you would prefer to order products over the phone, we will gladly place special orders for you. Reminder that all owners receive 10% off case orders.
  •  Instead of clearing our shelves to stock up on staple items (bathroom tissue, flours, etc.), consider placing special orders for cases. If the products are available from our suppliers, they will arrive at our store within a few days for you to pick up.

To stay informed with the latest, accurate information regarding this outbreak, we recommend the following resources:

Most importantly, we want you to know that we are here to serve you, and we will be transparent about our plans to prevent the further spread of this illness should an outbreak occur in our community. We only have your best interest in mind, and we will continue doing everything we can to ensure that our co-op is a safe place and that you feel comfortable shopping here.

Further updates will be made to this post as this situation develops. If you have any questions at all, please contact us at (715) 682-8251 or outreach@cheqfood.coop or kiersteng@cheqfood.coop. As always, our staff is happy to help in whatever way we can!