We have received some questions concerning our COVID-19 policies. Please let this message serve as our official position.
We are not making any changes to our COVID-19 safety policies at this time.
We realize this is a controversial topic but our response needs to take the safety of our staff, as front-line workers, into greatest consideration.
As others rush to return to "normal" we must recognize that the dangers of this pandemic still exist. As a deeply embedded member of this community, Common Ground has a duty to keep our shoppers and our staff as safe as we possibly can. At the Financial Meeting of Owners, I informed our owners that we have had a total of 5 staff members contract the virus; none of them got it from anyone at Common Ground nor was it passed from them to any other staff at Common Ground. This shows that our policies of mask-wearing, physical distancing, and sanitation have been effective thus far. We have achieved as safe of an environment as possible to work and shop in.
Bear in mind that at this time only 37% of Illinois residents are fully vaccinated and the long-term effectiveness of the vaccine is not yet known. This indicates that a surge in infections is possible, especially if we all rush to remove our masks and resume normal activities. The revised CDC guidelines resulted in elation by many; let's be real here, no one enjoys wearing a mask and having to distance themselves from others, but, we must still exercise caution in some of our daily activities. This includes shopping at the Co-op. While we understand that only vaccinated individuals are to be allowed to resume somewhat normal activities we have no way to verify that those without masks have or have not received it.
Our store is small. It is difficult to maintain distance, especially at our busiest times. Since only 37% of Illinois residents are fully vaccinated we can conclude that about 63% of our shoppers are not fully vaccinated and can catch and spread this virus.
Therefore, the two criteria that must be met for us to change our policies will be:
1. Store leadership must find that the data proves it is relatively safe to do so
2. The overwhelming majority of staff support the decision to change the policy.
Please bear with us as work towards a return to our previous norms.
Thanks for reading and please stay safe!