Our Emergency Response Team, formed in late February 2020 to address the COVID-19 crisis, continues to meet regularly to make decisions about how to best serve our communities while doing all we can to ensure the safety of everyone in our market. Of course, we wouldn’t be able to do any of it without the people who work in our markets every day – they’re the heart and soul of our company and we are profoundly grateful for their extraordinary efforts.
On this page, we share what we’re doing to minimize the spread of COVID-19, care for our people and other actions we’ve taken in response to the pandemic. We’ll continue to make changes and post updates as needed. You can also follow your market on Facebook for developments.
Thank you for your trust. We are all in this together and together we’ll make it through!
We require all shoppers and employees to wear masks within our markets.
Public health experts agree that properly fitted masks (meaning snug to your face, and covering both nose and mouth) are the most potent tool we have in preventing COVID-19. They are required of all, including those who are fully vaccinated.
We keep a supply of masks for people – just ask.
Children 2 and under are not required to wear a mask.
We also continue to ask that people maintain social distancing (six feet apart). You’ll see markers on the floor to help people maintain that distance where people typically congregate, such as near the check stands. You’ll also see some one-way aisles in some of our markets, with the directions indicated with floor decals.
Please note that we offer online shopping so you can order your groceries and pick them up curbside or have them delivered. Visit www.shop.townandcountrymarkets.com
- Environmental Concerns: In March 2021, we reinstituted the use of reusable bags by customers at our check stands in and Produce after a year-long suspension. We ask customers to ensure the bags are clean. We’re currently experiencing shortages of compostable trays but will reinstate them as soon as possible. The state of Washington’s COVID-19 Emergency Declaration allows retailers to temporarily suspend compliance with regulations around recycling, Styrofoam and plastic bags. We are committed to environmental stewardship, and we intend to return to our pre-pandemic level of recycling; use of compostable trays in Meat, Seafood and the Deli; and minimizing our use of plastic bags at the check stands.
- Ads (sales): Big Board Buys continues to offer our best values in all our markets, running Wednesday-Tuesday each week. We also offer dozens of bargains with Biweekly Buys. We have many non-advertised items on sale throughout our markets – look for the red shelf signs. Market Buys has been discontinued.
- Self-serve bars, cases and products: We are in the process of slowly reopening some of these features within our market, under the guidance of local health authorities. For example, we’ve replaced some “scoop bins” in Bulk Foods with “gravity bins” and have brought back Bulk spices. We provide disposable gloves alongside these features. We still aren’t allowing customers to use their own containers from home for bulk items. And for bulk items still in scoop bins, we are prepackaging these products in random amounts. Our soup bars are open again and our hot bars are beginning to be opened – please check with your market.
- Safety Practices: We sanitize all shopping carts, hand baskets, children’s carts and motorized shopping carts by wiping down with sanitizers after each use. Checkers sanitize all surfaces throughout the day. Hand sanitizers are available at each check stand and entrance. We also have mobile hand-washing stations at our entrances and/or near Produce. You’ll see disposable gloves in various areas for customers – in Bulk Foods, for example.
- No groups: We ask that our customers come to the market with as few people as possible to minimize crowding.
- Samples and cooking demos: Suspended until further notice.
- Utensils, Testers and Cups: We continue to swap out plastic utensils where they’re offered with individually wrapped plastic utensils. “Testers” for makeup or other Health & Beauty products that are applied onto, or close to, the face, remain suspended for now. In addition, we’re still not filling reusable coffee cups in our espresso shops on Bainbridge Island and in Poulsbo.
- Catering: Our wedding cake services are up and available.
- Market Fresh Party Platters: Check with your market to see if these catering specialties are again available. This may vary by market and product availability (our Central Market in Mill Creek will not be offering these until its remodel is completed in mid-2021).
- Plexiglass: We’ve installed plexiglass shields at our check stands since customers and checkers aren’t able to remain six feet apart.
The people who work in our markets continue their extraordinary work. We are profoundly grateful for their commitment and resilience as they serve the essential needs of our communities and keep our markets safe for all. We are doing all we can as a small business to keep them safe and to recognize their extraordinary efforts during this time.
- Appreciation pay: All market staff is receiving appreciation pay and an extension of their expanded employee discount.
- Staying home: We remind employees that if they feel ill, they need to stay home and may use their sick pay or vacation pay. We fully support and respect any who choose to take a leave of absence during this time.
- Testing positive: With the guidance of local health authorities, we have action plans when any of our employees test positive for COVID-19, including notifying our entire staff. Any employee mandated by a medical professional or health agency to quarantine because they tested positive for COVID-19 or were in close proximity to someone who tested positive receives up to 10 days of full compensation.
Retailers throughout the country continue to experience periodic shortages of some products from sanitizing wipes and gels to toilet tissue, water and some non-perishable foods. While this situation has significantly lessened over the past year, you may still occasionally see shelf tags with purchase limits so we can be sure everyone has access to that product, or product substitutions (whose retail prices are set exactly as all products).