We have moved to reassure our customers, members and communities that we are taking significant steps to help minimise the impact of the upcoming national lockdown.
We have plans in place to mitigate any potential issues caused by new Government restrictions to fight the Covid-19 pandemic, which come into force from Thursday.
This includes strengthening our already robust distribution network, forging increased relationships with local suppliers and offering easier access to food and vital essentials via our Call and Collect service for our members and, in some areas, via the one-hour, eco-friendly delivery service Snappy App.
Customers are also being asked to continue to work with us to ‘keep our communities safe’ by adhering to a wide range of measures put in place in stores to keep everyone safe while ensuring access to vital food and essentials.
Debbie Robinson, Central England Co-op Chief Executive, said: “Nothing is more important to us all at Central England Cooperative than the health and safety of our colleagues and customers.
“We want to say a big thank you to our customers for their understanding and helping us to keep themselves and our colleagues safe during this pandemic and throughout the coming winter months.
“We are confident that we have taken all the necessary precautionary steps, including working with a wide range of local suppliers, to keep your local Co-op well stocked.
“Our suppliers and colleagues are working hard to make sure that shelves are regularly re-stocked, as a community retailer we know how important it is for everyone to have access to good quality food and vital essentials.
“Today we are asking our customers and members to be considerate to others at this uncertain time and shop responsibly.”
We have also re-issued our plea for people to show ‘care, compassion and respect’ to our colleagues as they continue to work around the clock to serve their communities and go above and beyond to replenish stock levels and keep stores and homes open.
The Society will be continuing to work with over 65 food bank partners with instore donation points, and its pioneering partnership with FareShare Midlands to redistribute food and create over one million meals for local good causes.
We are also promoting our Community Dividend Fund to allow immediate financial support for good causes, groups and charities helping communities deal with the impact of these uncertain times.
The Society’s funeral arm is also working around the clock 24 hours a day to support families in need, including providing a free online bereavement service via Grief Chat.
The range of measures in place at our sites include:
On entering the shop:
• Prominent markings installed outside stores so customers queuing maintain safe distances of two-metres and wear a face covering, as well as messages asking those customers who may have symptoms of Covid-19 not to enter the store.
• Permanent hand sanitiser stations at the front of all stores and a one-way system in place permanently
• Specialist cleaning products are used to regularly wipe down the countertops and chip and pin machines, ATMs, baskets and trolleys
• Clear markings installed throughout stores to communicate two-metre spacing. Customers are asked to maintain these distances while shopping and this is repeated frequently via in-store radio messaging
• As mandated by the Government, all customers and colleagues must wear face coverings while in store, unless medically exempt
At point of payment:
• Special markings installed to showcase two-metre safe distances while queueing
• Team members are using every other till point or checkout to keep both customers and colleagues a safe distance apart
• Special markings installed in front of till points and checkouts of at least one metre. If a customer needs to enter this area to place down a basket or use the keypad, colleagues move backwards to maintain a safe distance
• Customers are asked to pay with card or contactless if possible
• Over 1,000 plastic screens at till points and 7,000 face visors issued to staff.