As I write this, we in Windham County have been informed that our COVID infection risk status is now “substantial.” I know I am not alone in thinking, Wow, what happened? and How come so fast?
Needless to say, we instituted the CDC’s strong recommendation for mask-wearing in the store for both customers and staff the morning we heard the news. Of course, as in most things of this nature, the commentary has been widely varied. Some feel we should mandate and enforce as we did for months, before vaccinations had reached the 80% mark. Others chided us for “shaming” folks into wearing masks.
We want to inform you that a Co-op cashier tested positive for COVID-19. They were last at work on Saturday, August 21, and noticed a symptom consistent with the signs: loss of sense of smell. We typically sanitize each register area at the end of every shift, so all safety protocols were enforced. The staff member is quarantining at home and all close contacts have been informed and are also being tested prior to return to work. We are greatly relieved that all were vaccinated.
As we round the bend into the last month of 2020 (can I get an “Amen”?!?), we launch into the reconfiguration of the Bulk department to offer more options for you to select from gravity bins yourselves, as opposed to us bagging them for you in arbitrary quantities. Much thought, work, and investment has gone into this change, and we hope that you enjoy the effect on your shopping choices in that department. As you’ll see, we will continue to serve you with liquids, nut butters, and herbs, and have moved things around to make that a bit more efficient.
Masks. They are the new fad, the new look of 2020, and have brought many creative people to the forefront of society, sewing together a staple of our daily fashion. With that in mind, Cindy in our Housewares department has selected four seamstresses who are now producing and selling masks here at the Co-op. The material patterns consist of everything from animals to food to flashy colors, with the common idea to protect us from the current pandemic. I was inspired by Cindy’s suggestion to feature four different folks who sew masks to sell at the Co-op as our Producers of the Month. Thus, I felt it best to let them share a bit about themselves from their perspective in a question-and-answer style format, unedited and directly to you our loyal Co-op customers. A big thanks to them for their countless hours of sewing to help keep our community safe. So, without further ado, Anna, Leslie, Linda, and Julia will share a bit about themselves and why they started creating masks.
And how are you holding up? Now that we know we are running a marathon of indeterminate length, the stress of adjustment has a different feel. However, along with resignation, regret, and concern, we have discovered new ways to minister to ourselves, and also to harness some of that concern and anger into action.
As promised, we continue to adjust with the times, as restrictions are eased and needs change. We appreciate you following along and adjusting your own habits as we modify our hours, our department offerings, and more. It is hard to continually adapt ourselves to new situations, but that is part of what we need to do in this most unusual time.
As I write this, I have not left my home in over three weeks. Hopefully, the shelter-at-home order will be lifted soon and we will all be emerging from our homes, coming together once more in a bright and beautiful springtime.
You have no doubt heard a lot about the “essential workers,” which include your crew of Brattleboro Food Co-op staff, managers and workers alike, working hard to bring you food in a safer manner.
Fear has been on my mind lately. You’d think, after living several (some might say many) decades in this society, that I would not be surprised at the centrality of fear to our human reactions and decisions. In my continuing education about white supremacy and my privileged existence, the constant drumbeat of fear in the appallingly consistent steps that we have taken against populations of color is overwhelming. What in the world are we so afraid of?
Here are three recipes for hand sanitizers!
All three recipes are simple and can be made cheaply with a minimum of fuss.