COVID-19: Healthy Co-ops help communities stay healthy!

Healthy Co-ops Help Communities Stay Healthy!


The current pandemic of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) shows us once again that grocery stores are a vital resource to the communities they serve. You have come to us in recent days to prepare alongside others in the community. We wish that everyone here, shoppers and staff alike approach the way we operate with the health of ourselves and each other in mind. Below are ways that we here at Common Ground are working to do this, followed by things you can do to help us and each other.


What is Common Ground doing?

As of March 14th, Common Ground has implemented the following changes:

  • We increased the frequency to hourly of sanitizing high-touch surfaces like door handles, baskets, carts, register belts, serving utensils, bathrooms, and co-op cafe tables. 

  • We still offer sanitizing wipes for customers to use when using a cart or basket. We anticipate that our supply will see disruption and are doing our best to source alternatives including sanitizer stations at entrances. Those alternatives will be implemented immediately upon arrival.

  • We have asked any staff exhibiting symptoms of respiratory illness or fever to stay home and notify their physician. We are working with employees on a case-by-case basis to ensure they have the support they need. 

  • We have stopped accepting personal cups at our Cafe and have ceased self-serve sampling. We are asking all customers to use store-supplied containers or bags for bulk buying. Common Ground will not be providing donated glass jars for the forseeable future. Donations for glass containers are no longer being accepted.

  • We have removed testers in our Wellness department, with the exception of essential oil testers.

  • We have cancelled all classes, events, and training until 4/18/2020, and will reassess as time goes on to extend if necessary. This includes the annual Financial Meeting of Owners. More information about the FinMOO to come.

  • It’s been a challenge to balance our commitment to sustainability, but we believe the health of our community currently demands the use of single use items like paper towels in our restrooms, so we will soon re-install dispensers for the time being.

  • We are working closely with our suppliers to ensure we have the essentials that you are seeking, like pantry staples, cleaning supplies, and health and body care items.

  • We anticipate that guidance from federal, state and local agencies may change rapidly over the coming days and weeks. We will continue to monitor closely and be nimble in adjusting our operations to prioritize the health and safety of you and our staff. 

As of March 17th, the following changes are also implemented:

  • Self-serve coffee will only be available behind the Cafe counter
  • Oatmeal will only be available behind the Cafe counter.
  • The salad bar will be closed. Please check our Grab n' Go cooler for packaged salads.
  • One hot soup will be available daily and served behind the Cafe counter. Please check our Grab n' Go cooler for more packaged soups.
  • The Flatlander Classroom will be closed to the public for the time being.

As of March 20th, the following changes are implemented:

  • The Cafe is closed indefinitely. Fresh pizzas, made-to-order sandwiches, coffee & tea are no longer available. Frozen pizzas available while supplies last.
  • The Kitchen & Bakery are closed indefinitely. Grab n' Go selections available while supplies last.
  • Select bulk products are not available in the self-serve containers. To prevent the spread of germs, popular selections will be pre-packaged for safe shopping. Special orders are still available on all bulk items--just ask a staff member for help!

As of March 23rd, the following changes are implemented:

  • Designated senior shopping hours are 7:30am - 9:00am. We respectfully ask that shoppers honor this designated period for one of our most vulnerable populations. Seniors are not limited to these hours and may shop during all store hours.
  • Regular store hours are 9:00am - 7:00pm. 

As of March 26th, Common Ground added the following changes:

As of April 7th, the following changes are implemented:

As of April 21st, the following changes are implemented:

  • All staff are required to wear masks on the sales floor.

As of April 24th, the following changes are implemented:

  • Directional arrow stickers have been placed on the floor to guide the flow of traffic, preventing physical closeness of shoppers. 
  • Physical distancing stickers have been placed on the floor at the cash registers to maintain the recommended 6' distance.

On Monday, April 27th, Common Ground will be closed to allow an extra paid day off for staff to rest and recuperate.

As of May 1st, the following changes are implemented:

  • All shoppers are required to wear a face mask, per the Governor's mandate.

On Monday, May 25th, Common Ground will be closed to allow another paid day off for staff to rest and recuperate.

On July 6, Common Ground's Cafe will be open to serve coffee and tea. 

  • Sandwiches, pizza, salad, and soup will not be available.

On July 16, Common Ground's Cafe will be fully open! 

  • The salad bar, self-serve pizza, self-serve coffee, along with made-to-order sandwiches and pizzas will be available.
  • As always, masks must be fully covering the mouth and nose when serving yourself.
  • All shoppers must use the provided hand sanitizer before serving themselves.
  • Salad bar and soup bar utensils will be changed and sanitized hourly.

On August 2nd, phone orders will transition to an online store!

  • Common Ground will no longer accept phone orders. Ordering can be done online only.
  • Curbside pick-up is available Sunday - Friday during specific times.
  • Read all about online ordering here!


What can you do to help?

  • Wear a mask for face covering while shopping.

  • Practice proper hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette. Take care to cough/sneeze into your elbow, wash your hands thoroughly and often, and refrain from touching your face. Consider maintaining a social distance of 6ft or more.

  • Place an order for curbside pick-up! If you are in the high risk category, consider placing an online order. We'll do the shopping and load your groceries for you! Read all about online ordering here!

  • Stay home if you can. If you’re sick, please consider not shopping out of consideration for folks at higher risk, including the elderly and those with compromised immune systems. We recognize that food access is essential and ask that if you must shop while sick, you use a covering for your nose/mouth and practice great hygiene. 

  • Place a special order. If you’re purchasing large quantities of single items in preparation for a quarantine, we recommend placing a special order to help us keep the shelves stocked for others. You can place an order for any item we carry directly with a staff member or by calling the store at (217) 352-3347. Most products will arrive within 2-3 days, though disruptions in the supply chain may result in out-of-stocks.

  • Stay informed: 

  • Take care of each other. The amazing part of our co-op is the building of community. Let’s remember to continue to support one another and find ways to help us deal with uncertainty and fear. Perhaps that might look like getting your neighbors phone numbers and checking in via phone/text. Or maybe it’s doing something out in public for a loved one who might be at higher risk for complications if exposed to illness. It could be as small of a gesture as a smile and wave at your fellow humans as you pass each other or expressing gratitude when you feel it.  We’re all in this together and we will get through it together.