Our Coronavirus Response
Our Emergency Response Team, formed in late February to address the COVID-19 crisis, meets online daily to make decisions about how to best serve our communities while doing all we can to ensure the safety of all who walk through our doors. But we wouldn’t be able to do any of it without the folks who work on the front lines every day. They are the heart and soul of our company, and we are profoundly grateful for their extraordinary efforts the past several weeks.
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 more changes as needed and will post updates each week. You can also follow our markets on Facebook for developments. Thank you for your trust in us. We are all in this together, and together we’ll make it through.
Ballard Market’s Meat Department has reopened after a short-term closure on April 3 due to staffing shortages. A member of that team, last in the market on March 31, tested positive for COVID-19 and is recovering at home. The rest of the team was sent home for a two-week quarantine to be on the safe side. Staff was brought in from other markets to reopen the department on Saturday. We are working closely with King County Health Department on each step taken and will take more if recommended.
No groups: We ask that our customers come to the market with as few people as possible to minimize crowding.
Wait lists: We’ve implemented a wait list system during our busiest hours at two of our smaller markets, T&C on Bainbridge Island and Ballard Market. Other markets may follow as needed.
Face masks and safety goggles: Our employees are encouraged to wear face masks, and we’re working to gather more paper and fabric masks for our folks. We are also looking into a supply of safety goggles and face shields for our staff to wear while at work.
Maintaining six feet between yourself and others can be hard to do in a grocery store. While we need to rely on our customers to maintain a safe distance as they shop, we’ve made some changes to make it easier to practice social distancing in our markets:
- Wait lists: We’ve implemented a wait list system during our busiest hours (except at Lakemont) to better enable social distancing within the markets. When you get to your market, you may see a sign or employee at the door indicating that the “wait list” is being used. On you’re mobile device, navigate to your market’s website. If you’re at a Central Market open www.central-market.com, if you’re at our market on Bainbridge or in Ballard, go to www.central-market.com. Tap the “Get in Line” link on the homepage, then select the “+Add Me” button in the upper right-hand corner of your market’s wait list page. You’ll be asked for your name and phone number and will received a text when it’s your turn. If you don’t have a phone, an employee at the door will be able to get your name on the list, then hang out near the entry (maintaining six feet distance between yourself and others please) so you can hear when your name is called. If are using a phone, please wait in your car to lessen the gathering at the entry.
- Floor decals: We’ll have floor decals to remind our customers to keep a safe distance when waiting in lines. Currently we have tape on the floor at the check stands serving this function.
- Plexiglass: We’ve installed plexiglass shields at our check stands in lieu of having six feet between our customers and checkers.
- No groups: We ask that our customers come to the market with as few people as possible to minimize crowding.
Market Hours: We’ve adjusted the hours our markets are open to provide some relief to our staff and more time to stock and clean.
- Ballard Market: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- T&C Market Bainbridge Island: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- T&C Market Lakemont: 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. (no change)
- Central Market Mill Creek: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Central Market Poulsbo: 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Central Market Shoreline: 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Senior Hours: We’ve set aside specific times for our most vulnerable customers – 60 and older, those with underlying medical issues, pregnant women, etc.
- Ballard Market: 9-11 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays
- All other markets: 7-9 a.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridayhours
We started implementing specific safety practices the first week of March and have continued to add to these practices as health department guidelines evolve and new information become available.
- Carts: All shopping carts, hand baskets, children’s carts and motorized shopping carts are wiped down with sanitizers after each use.
- Check stands: Our checkers sanitize all check stand surfaces throughout the day, and the credit/debit card keypads are sanitized between each customer. We’ve also minimized the need to sign for credit card purchases.
- Market wide: Our staff sanitizes high-touch surfaces in all areas of the markets throughout each day, including cooler doors and backroom areas.
- Hand sanitizers: Available for customer use at each entrance and all check stands.
- Mobile hand washing stations: Watch for them at entrances and/or near Produce.
- Gloves: We’ve provided disposable gloves in various areas in the market for customers to use as they shop.
- Face masks and safety goggles: Our employees are encouraged to wear face masks, and we’re working to gather more nonsurgical paper and fabric masks for our folks. We are also looking into a supply of safety goggles and face shields for our staff to wear while at work.
- Samples and cooking demos: Suspended until further notice.
- Self-serve bars and cases: Suspended until further notice. We’re pre-packing many of the items from those bars so you can still enjoy salads, hot food and antipasti at home.
- Bulk foods: Scoop bins and bulk spices are no longer available, and we’ve prepacked many of these items. Ask an employee for what you need. We’ve suspended the use of containers and bags from home.
- Reusable bags: We’ve temporarily suspended the use of reusable bags and are bagging all groceries in unused paper or plastic bags only. We’ve temporarily brought plastic bags back where they’ve been banned and waived the 5-cent fee in those markets.
- Plastic utensils: We’ve swapped out unwrapped, compostable utensils with individually wrapped plastic utensils in our food service areas
- Testers: We’ve removed “testers” for makeup or other Health & Beauty products that are applied on or close to the face.
- Coffee cups: We’re no longer filling reusable coffee cups in our espresso shops on Bainbridge Island and Central Market Poulsbo.
- Catering: We are temporarily suspending orders for our Market Fresh Party Platters and wedding cakes.
The folks who work in our markets are doing 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 has received appreciation pay for the month of March and will receive a temporary hourly wage increase until further notice.
- State benefits: We also are pursuing state benefit programs specifically set up for workers in this crisis through Employment Security.
- Staying home: We remind our employees that if they feel ill, they need to stay home and MAY use their sick pay or vacation pay. And we’ve let them know that 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 prepared should any of our employees test positive for COVID-19. 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, will receive two weeks of full compensation.
We’re working hard to get online ordering up and running so you can have your groceries ready to simply pick up or be delivered to your home. We’re optimistic that we will have this option available in all our markets over the next month.
If you’re nervous about coming into the market (obviously don’t come in if you’re feeling ill or have known exposure to the coronavirus), please call and speak to our pharmacy staff about alternatives for picking up your prescription. 360-779-5335. We’re open our regular hours but these could change without notice, so please check.
Pharmacy hours changed to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays as of April 2. Weekend hours remain the same (9 am.-6 p.m. Saturdays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sundays).