New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets of Portland, Ore., have implemented temporary safety measures—including limiting the number of shoppers in its stores—to support the safety and well-being of staff, customers and the community as the challenges posed by the coronavirus continue to evolve. Additionally, the grocers have rolled out bonuses and benefits for staff members who work in-store.
Beginning March 23, all News Seasons and New Leaf Markets will limit the number of shoppers in its stores, with capacity limits varying based on the square footage of the store.
While the queue process will initially differ from store to store, the grocers will introduce a digital process in the next few days to allow customers to wait in their car or take a walk around the block at a comfortable distance. The grocer is asking that only one person per family or “party” visit the store at a time to help minimize wait times.
“We are incredibly grateful to our customers for supporting the measures we are implementing for the protection of everyone in our stores,” said Forrest Hoffmaster, CEO of New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets, in a statement. “We are so proud of our staff who have such an incredible heart, showing up for each other and our community in unimaginable ways during this time of uncertainty."
“We have been working tirelessly with our store operations teams and the local health authorities to determine temporary store procedures to help protect our staff and customers,” he continued. “We feel confident in the preventative measures we are taking to uphold the health and safety of our community.”
“Local grocery workers are helping us keep our households and our community going. They’ve been on the front lines, serving the public, as we respond to this crisis. We all owe them a debt of gratitude,” said Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury. “We also owe it to these workers and each other to ensure we follow social distancing protocol while shopping and that we are patient with each other. I applaud New Seasons Market and other grocery chains for putting these health-based procedures in place.”
Additionally, the Markets have instituted a "Community Care Hour" from 8-9 a.m. Monday through Friday to accommodate members of the community at a higher risk of severe illness, such as seniors and customers who are immunocompromised or pregnant. It has extended its Wednesday senior discount to all hours Monday through Friday to provide additional flexibility.
New Seasons and New Leaf have also shifted opening hours to 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., to allow staff time to stock shelves and prepare stores for customers.
In-store precautions include new informational and directional signage in every store that encourages shoppers to keep a healthy distance between one another at checkout and service counters. The stores have also suspended the use of reusable bags and beverage containers andincreased sanitation practices, including disinfecting common areas more frequently in accordance with health authorities’ guidance, in addition to its usual rigorous sanitation and food safety procedures.
New Seasons and New Leaf are supporting its staff who work in-store with biweekly bonuses in recognition of their dedication and work during this time. The grocers have also extended supplemental paid time off and supplemental paid time off for childcare through April 28 to support staff members who show symptoms, are quarantined, caring for a family member, test positive or are at high-risk.
The grocers have temporarily increased its staff discount to 30% off food, wellness products and household items across the store. Store staff are encouraged to take advantage of a dedicated time before opening and after closing to shop for themselves and their families.
New Seasons Market’s team includes more than 3,500 staff across 20 stores in Oregon, Washington and Northern California. New Leaf Community Markets operates five stores along the Central Coast.