UPDATES FOR THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 16
In the last week, two Whole Foods Co-op employees from our Denfeld store and one employee from our Hillside store have tested positive for COVID-19. We wish them quick and full recovery.
Following the Co-op’s COVID response plan, we assessed possible contacts within the workplace. There was no close contact between these individuals and shoppers. The co-workers who were determined to have contact with those who tested positive, have been notified — all had completed their COVID-19 vaccinations, and were masked during the contact. Following CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidance, these individuals do not need to quarantine, but are monitoring for symptoms and are encouraged to get tested within 3-5 days of contact.
Through the pandemic the Co-op has maintained transparency about our pandemic response and any incidents of employees testing positive for COVID-19. To date, there had been twelve positive cases amongst our staff. There have been no instances of spread of COVID-19 in our workplace.
With the recent rise in positive cases in our community and the virulence of the delta variant, we strongly encourage our employees and our community to get vaccinated against COVID-19 if you haven’t already. Pharmacies and health clinics provide vaccinations free of charge. Find vaccination appointments in MN or WI here:
Regular voluntary testing is also recommended. Free testing for the general public is available at University of Wisconsin Superior, the Duluth Entertainment and Convention Center and local pharmacies.
Thank you for taking the health and safety of our staff and our community seriously.
UPDATES FOR SUNDAY, AUGUST 1
Yesterday’s latest update from the CDC on transmission rates of COVID-19 show St Louis County in the “substantial” zone. Starting on Sunday, August 1st, WFC shoppers and staff will be required to wear face coverings regardless of vaccination status. We deeply appreciate your diligence and patience through this ongoing challenge presented by COVID-19. A return to masking is frustrating, yet it’s one more way we can support staff and community health. See the latest transmission rate here.
Also, on July 30th we learned that a Hillside front end employee tested positive for COVID-19 through voluntary periodic testing. They are quarantining following CDC/Department of Health guidelines. WFC has assessed possible contact between this individual and others have determined that there is not a risk of exposure for staff and shoppers.
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY JULY 30
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY JUNE 7
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY MAY 14
At this time, we will continue to require masks at the Co-op. We’re actively reviewing CDC and MDH guidance for businesses and other safety recommendations before we make any changes to our safety policies. We appreciate your continued diligence in keeping our community safe while our team works to determine the next course of action. As always, delivery and free curbside pickup is always a great option!⠀
Thank you for your continued care for one another.
Thank you for your continued care for one another.
Thank you for your continued care for one another.
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY APRIL 2
Today we learned that an employee from our Hillside location tested positive for COVID-19. Because of our strict safety measures, there has been no incident of this individual having had close contact with other staff or shoppers while in the workplace.
Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) Guidance for Employers states that close contact is defined as spending 15 minutes or more with the individual, less than 6 feet away without a face covering and eye protection.
Recently the state of Minnesota reported a 5.3% positivity rate of COVID-19 testing which suggests we’re at a high level of viral transmission. The Co-op continues to hold our ground and stay the course on safety measures to keep our community safe.
Learn more about our Safe Shopping Tips, including use of our Curbside Pickup and Delivery services at: https://wholefoods.coop/safe-shopping-tips
UPDATES FOR MONDAY MARCH 14
Vaccine access was expanded to food retail frontline workers in Minnesota and Wisconsin and we’re breathing a big sigh of relief. We continue to track progress as Co-op staff start to receive the COVID-19 vaccine and we expect many slated to be fully vaccinated by mid-April.
UPDATES FOR MONDAY MARCH 1
Announcing the return of the reusable mug! Reusable mugs are again allowed for drip coffee purchases (excludes over-the-counter specialty coffee purchases).
UPDATES FOR MONDAY FEBRUARY 22
Please join us in urging Minnesota’s elected leaders and health department decision makers to expedite vaccine access for essential food workers. Contact Gov. Tim Walz (link in bio) and ask to prioritize these essential food workers in order to ensure that our food supply is not adversely impacted, and Co-op staff stay safe. ⠀
Employees at the Co-op and grocery stores around the country interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of individuals every day as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Prioritizing vaccinations for essential food workers helps keep food on your table! ⠀
We support an effort by our staff’s union UFCW 1189 to prioritize food workers to receive the vaccine soon, and invite our community to join us in these efforts.
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY DECEMBER 4
In the last few days, we learned that 2 Whole Foods Co-op employees from our Denfeld location and 1 employee from our Hillside location tested positive for COVID-19. We wish our co-workers a quick recovery.
There has been no close contact between these individuals and other staff or shoppers and we haven’t experienced any workplace transmission of COVID-19 with any cases at the Co-op.
To date, 7 Co-op employees have tested positive for COVID-19; and 4 are clear to return to work. Due to our strict safety procedures requiring testing whenever COVID-19 symptoms are present, Whole Foods Co-op has tracked over 100 employee COVID-19 tests that have come back negative. The Co-op is committed to transparency as a means of community safety and we will continue to be forthcoming with positive staff cases and updates to our procedures.
Thanks to our community for continuing to take the pandemic seriously. COVID-19 diagnoses are becoming widespread across St. Louis County and now, more than ever, it’s important we keep each other safe. Learn more about our Safe Shopping Tips, including use of our Curbside Pickup and Delivery services at: https://wholefoods.coop/safe-shopping-tips
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY NOVEMBER 27
Yesterday (11/26), we learned that a Whole Foods Co-op employee from our Hillside location tested positive for COVID-19. They have had no close contact, as defined by the Minnesota Department of Health, with staff or shoppers during the infectious period and we wish our co-worker a speedy recovery.
Thank you to our staff and shoppers for taking the right precautions to keep each other safe, especially as COVID-19 diagnoses are becoming more widespread across the country and in St. Louis County. Please continue to wear your face coverings (covering both your nose and mouth) and keep six feet of distance between you and others. Learn more about our Safe Shopping Tips, including use of our Curbside Pickup and Delivery services at: https://wholefoods.coop/safe-shopping-tips
UPDATES FOR TUESDAY NOVEMBER 24
Late yesterday (11/23) and early today (11/24), we learned that two Whole Foods Co-op employees tested positive for COVID-19, one person from each of our stores. Following the Minnesota Department of Health guidance for employers, we have reviewed each situation and assessed the contact these individuals had with other employees. At this time, we do not believe that there is risk of exposure for shoppers and staff. The Co-op is safe to remain open to serve our shoppers.
We continue to follow strict safety protocols, including requiring all staff to always wear face coverings and eye protection while working, and screening all employees for symptoms and exposure before starting their shift. Employees with symptoms or known exposure to a positive COVID-19 case are excluded from work until they are cleared to return following MDH guidance on testing and/or quarantining.
At the Co-op, we take the pandemic and the safety of our community very seriously. We ask our shoppers to join us:
- Wear a mask at all times in public (covering your nose, mouth and chin);
- Keep 6 feet distance between yourself and others;
- Wash your hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds;
- Limit your time in our store or use our delivery and curbside services;
- Learn more safe shopping tips here: wholefoods.coop/safe-shopping-tips.
We also encourage our staff and greater community to consider periodic testing even if you show no symptoms. COVID-19 tests are readily available, at no cost and with quick turnaround on results. Testing at the DECC is now open 7 days a week and accommodates walk-ins.
We remain committed to providing a safe, comfortable and welcoming place to work and shop for our employees and customers. And, of course, we wish a speedy and full recovery for our co-workers.
We are grateful for your continued trust in the Co-op and appreciate you doing everything you can to keep our community safe.
With great care,
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY NOVEMBER 6
Dear Whole Foods Co-op Community,
Late yesterday, we learned that an employee who works at the Whole Foods Co-op’s Hillside store tested positive for COVID-19. Our primary concern is the recovery and wellness of our employee, as well as supporting the continued health and safety of our staff and community.
Upon learning of the positive case, we immediately contacted the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) for guidance. MDH has assured us that given the timing of the positive test and the last shift the employee worked on October 21st, there is no risk of exposure for our staff and shoppers and the Co-op is safe to remain open to serve our shoppers. Additionally, MDH confirmed our ongoing sanitization practices and health screening protocols meet or exceed required public safety measures.
Following Whole Foods Co-op’s COVID-19 Response Plan, we have notified all Co-op employees and UFCW 1189.
We continue to follow strict safety protocols, including screening all Whole Foods Co-op employees for symptoms and exposure before starting their shift and requiring that any employee with symptoms or known exposure to a positive COVID-19 follow MDH guidance on testing and/or quarantining before being cleared to return to work. Additionally, Whole Foods Co-op requires all staff to wear face coverings and eye protection at all times while working.
We continue to take the pandemic and the safety of our community incredibly seriously and believe that transparency and communication supports a best approach. With that, we want to remind you of the other ways we can keep each other safe right now:
- Wear a mask at all times in public.
- Wear your mask across your nose, mouth and chin.
- Keep 6 feet distance between yourself and others when in public.
- Wash your hands well and often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Monitor yourself for symptoms. If you have questions about your specific symptoms or risk factors, we encourage you to call the Minnesota Department of Health COVID-19 Hotline at 651-201-3920.
- Limit shopping trips, preferably with only one shopper per household in the store at any time
- Shop earlier or later in the day to avoid crowded conditions
- Use online ordering for grocery delivery or curbside pickup. Learn more at wholefoods.coop/curbside-pickup
- Learn more safe shopping tips here: wholefoods.coop/safe-shopping-tips
We are committed to providing a safe, comfortable and welcoming place to work and shop for our employees, shoppers and owners. Thank you for your continued trust in the Co-op and for doing everything you can to keep our community safe.
UPDATES FOR THURSDAY, OCTOBER 28
The Minnesota Department of Health put out new recommendations around personal protective equipment for safe workplaces and starting Thursday, October 28th, all Co-op employees are required to wear eye protection inside Whole Foods Co-op buildings. Eye protection is recommended for those possibly working within 6 feet of another individual as COVID-19 has been known to be contracted through the eyes. Unlike masks, which protect both the wearer and those surrounding the wearer, eye protection is used to increase one’s own personal safety. At this time, customers will not be required to use eye protection.
UPDATES FOR MONDAY, OCTOBER 26
Starting Monday, October 26th, the Co-op is now open 7am to 9pm daily. This change allows for more shopping hours for our customers to better support social distancing. We advise high-risk community members to shop at 7am as the store is sanitized and the average amount of shoppers is lower.
UPDATES FOR TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
Whole Foods Co-op is again accepting Special Orders for products. Due to supply chain issues, products ordered may take up to 2 weeks to be received or be unavailable. Call us or visit our customer service desk to inquire about pre-order bulk or case items and don’t forget that Co-op Owners receive 15% off eligible regular price bulk orders.
UPDATES FOR THURSDAY, AUGUST 27
Whole Foods Co-op is no longer allowing staff or shoppers to use face shields as an alternative to a cloth face covering. While all face coverings vary in their effectiveness, as per the CDC, “There is currently not enough evidence to support the effectiveness of face shields for source control. Therefore, CDC does not currently recommend use of face shields as a substitute for masks.”
UPDATES FOR SATURDAY, AUGUST 1
We are happy to announce the return of the reusable! Clean totes, bags, and reusable containers are welcome again at both Whole Foods Co-op locations. If you bring reusable bags, we ask that you pack your groceries. At this time, refillable mugs for coffee and reusable containers for kombucha are not allowed.
UPDATES FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 1
Starting July 1st, we will be open 9am to 9pm daily. We advise high-risk community members to shop at 9am as the store is sanitized and the average amount of shoppers is lower.
UPDATES FOR FRIDAY, JUNE 26
The Co-op is requiring shoppers and staff to wear a face covering while shopping at either location. If you do not have one, customer service will happily supply you with a free, single-use mask. More details at cdc.gov/…/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Thank you keeping our community safe!
Updates for Wednesday, April 29
New one way shopping aisles are another safety measure we’re taking during COVID-19. Thanks for watching your step and practicing social distancing while shopping at the Co-op!
Updates for Monday, April 27
In addition to delivery, we are now offering Curbside Pickup! Get fresh, local produce, groceries and even our bulk department ready for you to pickup at either location starting at just $1.99. Shoppers create an account and use Instacart.com to get this service and Co-op employees pick your items for you. More details: https://wholefoods.coop/curbside-pickup/
Updates for Friday, April 24
Please—join our team in wearing a cloth face covering while shopping at the Co-op.
More details at cdc.gov/…/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html
Updates for Monday, April 13
OPEN DAILY 9am-7pm
Important Shopper Safety Reminders
Reduce trips to the Co-op
If you typically shop the Co-op multiple times per week please reduce to just once. Use of our Home delivery and curbside pick-up is also encouraged. More at wholefoods.coop/delivery.
Use to shopping with your family or the kids? During the pandemic we ask for solo shopping trips only to allow for more space in the store.
Limit time in store and socializing
We know the Co-op is typically a place to run into friends, but please limit contact with others and shop as quickly as possible.
Whether you’re standing in line or asking a worker for assistance, keep 6ft between yourself and others.
Face mask use
The CDC now recommends you wear a mask (whether homemade or store-bought) when you shop that covers your nose and mouth.
Card over cash payment
Pay with a credit card or debit card if you have the option
No outside bags or containers
This includes reusable shopping bags and containers for bulk.
Updates for Monday, March 23
OPEN DAILY 9am-7pm
- Please stand outside the tapped, red box at check-out. This offers more space between shoppers & staff at the registers.
- Use of electronic payments instead of cash also helps.
Suspending Product Returns
Until further notice, product returns are no longer accepted.
When do you recommend I shop?
- Shoppers who are at-risk, including elders and immuno-compromised shoppers are encouraged to shop between 9-10am. If you’re not at-risk, we invite you to shop with us from 10am-7pm, daily.
- Shop online, 24/7 and get fresh, local, groceries delivered to your doorstep. More at wholefoods.coop/delivery
Practicing Social Distancing
- Limit your shopping trips and the number of people you shop with.
- If you are sick or have been exposed to Coronavirus, stay home.
- Please give staff space and don’t congregate unnecessarily.
Updates for Saturday, March 21
Dear Whole Foods Co-op Shoppers,
As our teams work tirelessly to meet your grocery needs, please consider how you can help support our staff during these unprecedented times. We’re serious about safety and we encourage you to join us. Please read below how you can help including understanding why we’re practicing social distancing.
Thanks for your critical help keeping our staff and community safe.
- New Store Hours are 9am-7pm, daily.
- Suggested shopping hours from 9-10am for high-risk community members, including elderly and immuno-compromised shoppers.
- These changes allow extra time to clean, stock shelves and best serve our community.
Keep Staff Safe
Grocery staff have been designated as Emergency Personnel by Governor Walz and our teams are on the front lines, providing essential services for our community.
- Remember to thank staff for the vital service they are providing during this difficult time.
- Support staff safety by taking social distancing measures in our stores very seriously.
Practicing Social Distancing for Staff & Shopper Safety
- If you are sick, stay home.
- Use our home delivery service at wholefoods.coop/delivery.
- Limit your shopping trips and the number of people you shop with.
- Please give staff space and don’t congregate unnecessarily.
- Prepared foods like hot bar are packaged for Grab-n-Go.
- Use of electronic payments instead of cash.
Suspending All Reusable Bags & Containers
- Includes containers for bulk, water, produce and shopping bags.
- We will suspend the 5-cent bag fee on paper bags.
- We do not want outside containers or bags to come in contact with staff or in store surfaces to reduce possible exposure opportunities.
Suspending Hot Bar, Salad Bar, Pizza, Made-to-Order Sandwiches and in-store dining
- All self-serve foods have been eliminated including hot bar, salad bar, pizza, and hot soups.
- Wide offering of made-in-house, Grab-n-Go food available.
Suspending Special Orders & Rainchecks
- Our distribution channels are taxed and some of our suppliers have instituted limits on what we can purchase.
- To maximize access for all and to prioritize the availability of essential items, we have discontinued special orders and rain checks.
All measures we’re taking in response to COVID-19 are to support the safety of our community and have been carefully considered by our teams. You can find updates on our website here wholefoods.coop/covid-19.
These are hard and confusing times for all of us. Thank you for understanding that we’re doing our best to respond to this ever-changing environment in a manner that upholds respect for our staff, community and co-op.
Thank you for your cooperation,
Whole Foods Co-op
Updates for Friday, March 20
Open Daily 9am to 7pm
Special Shopping Hour
Updates for Tuesday, March 17
New Store Hours
- Public Store Hours are changing to 9am-7pm daily, effective March 18.
- This allows us extra time to clean and stock shelves.
No Special Orders, Rain Checks & Pre-Pays
We’re experiencing consistent out-of-stocks from our suppliers. To help ensure that we’re able to provide the best access to available items for our shoppers we are taking the following temporary measures effective immediately:
- Suspending special orders. All special orders that have arrived need to be picked up by Sunday, March 22 at 7pm. Items not picked up will be stocked on the shelves.
- Suspending Rain Checks & Pre-Pays
- Suspending Weekly Fresh Deals promotions.
- Suspending customer reusable cup use for all beverages
- New, wrapped, silverware in our Deli Grab-n-Go
- Suspending draft Kombucha
- Self-service coffee remains with air pots being cleaned more frequently
- Urging shoppers to use touch-free mobile payments using Apple Pay & Google Pay.
- Urging shoppers to have groceries delivered to your home through instacart
- Urging shoppers who are ill to not shop, use delivery, or to send a friend to shop for them
Thank you for understanding these changes.
Updates for Monday, March 16
Open regular hours: 7am to 9pm, Daily
Effective immediately and until further notice…
- We are closing all public seating in stores to support social distancing.
- We are suspending public classes, community meetings and events until further notice including Co-op Classes, Community meetings and meet-ups and events. Whole Foods Co-op Board of Directors will conduct all business remotely via web conferencing.
- We are suspending Co-op Explorers free fruit program.
- We are removing all TESTERS from the wellness departments.
Hot Bar & Salad Bar offerings including soup will be packaged for Takeout/Grab-n-Go only starting March 17th at 5pm. We will do our best to offer a variety of packaged options to meet shopper needs.
Hands-free phone payments using apps like Apple Wallet and Google Pay highly encouraged as is grocery delivery through Instacart.
As things develop, we are considering implementing additional measures if needed including:
- Reducing store hours to allow staff extra time to clean and stock shelves
- Stocking alternate brands/items, including non-organic items
- Offering bulk foods in prepackaged containers.
Updates for Friday, March 13
Whole Foods Co-op is committed to the health and safety of our employees, shoppers and community. At this time, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 coronavirus in St. Louis County, but as this situation continues to develop, we want you to know that Whole Foods Co-op is proactively preparing our response.
We’re committed to keeping the doors open and shelves stocked. The safety of our shoppers, staff and partners is our first priority. We will be following all local, state, and federal recommendations and taking actions within our emergency preparedness plan.
What We’re Doing Now
- We are monitoring the guidelines for the food industry as established by the Department of Health and the CDC and will follow recommendations.
- We are using cleaning supplies that are recommended by the CDC.
- We have implemented an even more thorough cleaning schedule of common surfaces such as door handles, shared workstations, payment machines, carts, and baskets and other high-touch surfaces.
- While we always expect our staff to wash their hands, we are reminding and encouraging more frequent washing of hands.
- We will continue to review and update employer practices to best support the health and safety of our employees.
- We have suspended active and passive demo sampling until further notice.
- We have suspended the use of reusable cups at our coffee bars, so our staff would not have to handle customer’s reusable containers until further notice. This will not impact self-serve or bulk purchases.
- We are focused on maintaining a good supply of our usual merchandise, as well as additional emergency preparedness items that you might need.
How We’ve Been Affected So Far
Supply on some shelf-stable items has tightened, and this has led to some out of stock items. Products currently affected are hand sanitizers and some cleaning supplies. Our manufacturers are trying to replenish inventories as quickly as possible, and we are doing our best to keep items in stock by increasing order quantities or finding alternate sources when available. If you are in search of a particular product that may be out of stock at our store, feel free to give us a call, and we’ll be happy to check our inventory for you.
What We’ll Do if Cases are Confirmed in our Area
- We may postpone or cancel some upcoming events including Co op classes. Refunds will be issued for any cancelled classes or events.
- We may temporarily suspend the Co-op Explorers free fruit program for kids.
- We may reduce the offering of self-service prepared food.
What You Can Do
- If you are demonstrating symptoms of COVID-19 or have had contact with someone that is a presumptive positive case of COVID-19, please stay home.
- If you are interested in buying your groceries online for delivery visit wholefoods.coop/delivery
- If you’re interested in ordering case volumes of staple items (bathroom tissue, cleaning products, pantry staples, etc.), please place a special order at our Customer Service Desks or by calling 218-728-0884. Co-op Owners receive a 15% discount on eligible products special ordered by the case.
- St. Louis County
- Minnesota Department of Health
- Center for Disease Control (CDC)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
Thank you for choosing our co-op and for being an integral part of our community.
Whole Foods Co-op General Manager
All Whole Foods Co-op community updates will be made available on our website at wholefoods.coop/covid-19. If you have any questions, contact us at email@example.com.