Businesses that have been able to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic have had to change the way they go about their business.
James’ valu-mart in Kingston’s east end has followed suit with stores in larger centres and now opens at 7a.m. to provide a safer environment for seniors and people that may be more susceptible to the disease.
The store’s owner, James Van Wart, says the start of the day is the best time for senior customers to come in because the most intensive cleaning occurs overnight.
“It’s a little less busy, the store’s at it’s cleanest, everything hasn’t been touched so much. Everything’s been disinfected and they can enjoy themselves and maybe worry a little bit less.”
Carolyn Barnett took advantage of the early opening because it’s not in the peak of business operations.
“I don’t have anything against other people but if we can spread things out so there’s just a few of us it’s a lot better.”
Retired nurse Dona Locklin said she’s come in early for health reasons. “I do have an ill husband and I’ve just recovered from pneumonia so I’m at higher risk as well so that’s another reason to come in.”
The grocery store offers a pick-up service so patron’s don’t have to go into the store and has a third-party delivery service.
Quattrocchi’s Specialty Foods which offers an array of less common foods along with meat, cheese and vegetables has offered delivery since they opened almost 70 years ago. With the spread of novel coronavirus, their delivery service has grown in popularity.
Owner Joe Quattrocchi says some calls have come from as far away as Odessa and the demand for delivery has gone up in the last week.
“Before, home deliveries and gift baskets we might have done 20 a day. Now, we’re doing 50 or 80, just depending on the day.”
The decision to stay open has been tough, one Card’s Bakery & Goods owner Jen Moon says she wrestles with.
“I go to bed thinking about it, I wake up thinking about it and every day I check in with my staff, ‘are we open today?'”
The store owner says she is constantly checking the latest information from Health Canada, Ontario Health and KFL&A Public Health adding they have a rigorous cleaning regime.
“We do it every 15 minutes, we’re washing our hands between every customer, if they use the terminal with their fingers we disinfect it.”
The store supplies baked goods to Kingston General Hospital and bread to local grocery stores and most recently, Moon says, they helped out the local college.
“St. Lawrence College reached out to say, ‘we’ve got 50 students stranded here we need to feed them. What can you do?’ I let them know we can do boxed dinners or lunches for the students should they need that.”
KFL&A Public Health has told Global Kingston they have reached out to local food businesses providing support and guidance on how to operate safely.
The public health agency says Health Inspectors are also available for ongoing consultation.
Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:
Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing – very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease.
To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend social distancing, frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.
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