Coronavirus: Calgary Co-op announces enhanced measures to protect employees and shoppers

Calgary Co-op shoppers will notice changes at their local grocery store due to COVID-19 pandemic. Michael King / Global News

Calgary Co-op has announced new measures in order to support its employees and Calgarians during the coronavirus pandemic.

In a news release on Wednesday, the company said starting this week it’s installing plexiglass dividers, adding new sanitation measures and designating hours for seniors to shop.

The company also announced raises for its front line staff.

“On behalf of our entire Calgary Cooperative family, I would like to extend heartfelt thanks to our store staff, as well as our loyal members,” Ken Keelor, C.E.O. of Calgary Co-op said.

“Our team interacts with our members every day, and we are here for each other – together for good.”

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Co-op said all hourly front line team members including union, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and Home Health Care, will receive an additional $2.50 per hour.

The raises are retroactive to March 8 and are expected to last until at least May 2, when officials said the situation will be reassessed.

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“It is only by pulling together as a community that we will overcome these trying times,” Keelor said.

The company also announced it is looking to hire more employees.

“Calgary Co-op is actively recruiting additional temporary part-time team members to offer more store support.”

Meanwhile shoppers are expected to see some changes at their local Co-op due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials say in addition to plexiglass dividers to allow space between employees and customers, there will be enhanced staff distancing measures such as till staggering.

Masks and gloves will be made available to pharmacists and officials said all front line staff will also have access to gloves.

The grocery chain said it’s also removing its self-serve stations in the interest of health and safety.

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“The salad bar, olive bar, wings/fried chicken bar, curry and soup bars, open seafood cases, bulk bakery cases, self-serve coffee and self-serve kombucha stations are no longer available.”

Store hours have been carved out for seniors and those living with disabilities or immunocompromised people so they can avoid the crowds.

Co-op said every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. has been specially designated to support those groups in the community.

“This is to ensure those shoppers have access to a freshly-sanitized, fully-stocked grocery store.”

Other grocery chains, including Sobeys, Save-On-Foods and Real Canadian Superstore owner Loblaws, have made similar moves.

Last week, Co-op announced deliveries of free Calgary Co-op care packages to local residents directed to quarantine by Alberta Health Services.

Officials said that initiative is expected to remain until April 15 or until supplies last.

The company said Calgarians can apply for one Calgary Co-op care package per household by emailing with “Calgary Co-op Care Package” in the subject line.

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People are asked to include their full name, phone number, address, postal code and nearest Calgary Co-op location in their request.

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