Covid-19 FAQs

What steps is Natural Grocers taking to ensure stores are as clean as possible for both customers and good4u Crew?

 

We have always taken great pride in our clean and well-run stores, and we know this is more important than ever right now. We were recently rated as one of the cleanest grocery stores in America by Consumer Reports. We are diligently focused on these standards, adding additional precautions as necessary during the Coronavirus pandemic. On top of our daily cleaning procedures, we’re adding new processes to make our routines even more rigorous. As always, ensuring the health and wellbeing of our customers and Crew members is our highest priority.

 

We have implemented procedures at all our stores to ensure that the most frequently touched surfaces, including the checkout areas and payment keypads, are regularly cleaned.

 

During every shopping cart collection Crew will be cleaning our shopping cart handles and the child sitting area. Cashiers will be cleaning the handles of our hand baskets prior to returning them to the hand basket area.

 

Additionally, we are providing cleaning wipes and/or sprays for customers to use to clean their shopping carts or baskets. While good4u Crew are refilling these stations throughout the day, we ask customers to please notify Crew if they need to be replenished.

 

We are staffing the front entrance of each store with a Crew member to clean carts for customers as they enter, to ensure social distancing measures are followed and to provide hand sanitizer to customers.

 

We have also taken steps to ensure the continued availability of affordably priced 100% organic produce, grocery products, household essentials and supplements. All of our stores now close at 8:05 p.m. from Monday – Saturday and at 7:35 p.m. on Sundays so that they can be restocked and cleaned in time for opening the next day.

 

Natural Grocers has hired temporary workers at all its stores to assist with cleaning and stocking.

 

At checkout, plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at each register to help mitigate potential exposure. Additionally, we are now asking customers to bag or box their own purchases.  If a customer places a reusable bag or other personal item at the bagging station, Crew will clean the bagging station before assisting the next customer.

 

As always, Natural Grocers’ bulk items are pre-packaged to preserve freshness, maintain quality and taste, and most importantly right now, reduce contamination.

 

We have also implemented additional critical policies and guidelines related to the Coronavirus pandemic, including:

  • We are providing all our Crew with handmade cotton face masks to wear at their discretion. They are required to wear a fabric face mask or other suitable face mask while working. The only exception to this policy applies to Crew members who have a health or medical condition that prevents them from safely wearing a mask.
  • We are providing all our Crew with handmade cotton face masks and they are required to wear them at all times.
  • We are providing all our Crew with personal hand sanitizers.
  • All in-store nutrition education classes, recipe demos and one-on-one health coaching sessions have been canceled through June 1.
  • All product samplings have been eliminated.
  • All on-tap Kombucha stations have been temporarily closed.
  • All testers have been removed and will be replaced with new ones once the pandemic has abated.

How is Natural Grocers supporting their good4u Crew during the pandemic?

 

Commitment to our good4u Crew is one of our Five Founding Principles. Our Crew members are what make our company great. In the midst of the Coronavirus pandemic and an unprecedented time in which grocery stores are more essential to the wellbeing of their communities than ever before, we have taken a number of steps to thank and protect our good4u Crew.

 

Natural Grocers has never penalized Crew for calling out sick and we’re requiring sick Crew to stay home. We have always provided our Crew with paid sick leave via our Paid Time Off (PTO) policy, whereby Crew members accumulate PTO that can be used to cover time away from work.

 

Natural Grocers has implemented the following company-wide policies in light of the Coronavirus pandemic:

 

Raises and Bonuses

  • To support our store and bulk manufacturing Crews and to acknowledge the vital service they are providing to the community, we have provided a $2 per hour pay increase effective March 23. $1 per hour will be permanent and $1 per hour will be temporary through May 3, 2020. We have also provided two discretionary bonuses to store Crew and one to bulk manufacturing Crew.

 

Paid Time Off (PTO) Eligibility Benefits

  • We are providing up to 2 weeks of paid leave to all good4u Crew (both full-time and part-time) if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they are placed under mandatory quarantine by public health authorities. We are also providing up to one week of paid leave for all good4u Crew that are ill but cannot get tested for COVID-19.
  • Additional pay replacement may be provided for up to an additional 12 weeks under Natural Grocers’ short-term disability benefit if a Crew member is unable to return to work after the initial 2 weeks.
  • We are also providing multiple leave and PTO options for those who are sick, caring for someone who is sick, do not have child care options due to schools closing, have an underlying serious health condition, are over age 60, and for those who are uncomfortable going to work.

 

Health Insurance Benefits and Healthcare

  • We are paying for all Coronavirus/COVID-19 fees for our Crew who have medical insurance benefits with us, which means Crew will not have to pay for any of the following:
    • COVID-19 diagnostic visits: Natural Grocers will pay for these diagnostic visits, so that Crew will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 related visits with in-network providers, whether at a provider’s office, urgent care center, emergency room, or via virtual care, through May 31, 2020.
    • COVID-19 testing: Natural Grocers will pay for this testing, so that Crew will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 FDA-approved testing through May 31,2020.
    • COVID-19 treatment: Natural Grocers will pay for this treatment, so that Crew will not incur any out-of-pocket costs for COVID-19 related treatment provided by in-network providers through May 31, 2020.

 

  • We have opened a special enrollment period for medical insurance so that Crew members who may have chosen to not sign up for medical insurance can do so now.
  • We have temporarily moved our benefits eligibility for medical insurance to the first of the month after 30 days, so that Crew needing medical insurance can sign up faster.
  • We are providing our Crew, at their discretion, free immune supporting and stress supporting supplements daily.
  • Construction teams have installed sneeze guards at each checkout area. .
  • All Crew are being supplied with hand sanitizer and disposable gloves.
  • Store, warehouse and bulk packaging Crew are being provided homemade cotton face masks to wear.
  • All Home Office Crew who can are working from home.

 

Has Natural Grocers implemented special shopping hours for seniors and others vulnerable populations?

 

We are offering two shopping hours exclusively for seniors (ages 60 and older), pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions.  Anyone included in these categories may be accompanied by someone if they need assistance shopping.

  • Every Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • Every Wednesday from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m.

Is Natural Grocers providing masks and gloves for good4u Crew?

 

We are providing disposable gloves and face masks to our Crew. Since there is a shortage of masks, multiple Crew members from all parts of the company -- from the Home Office (including Executives) to store Crew -- have lovingly made fabric masks for our in-store, distribution center and bulk manufacturing good4u Crew. Until those masks have been distributed to all stores, we have provided instructions on how our Crew can make suitable fabric face coverings and other types of face masks.

Is Natural Grocers providing hand sanitizer for good4u Crew?

 

Due to a lack of availability on the open market, we have made our own sanitizer and made it available to each Crew member. We are now working with local Colorado distilleries to source sanitizer which is being given to the Crew to use throughout their shifts.

What is Natural Grocers doing about social distancing?

 

All stores have social distancing markers on the floor at the register line to show 6 ft. distance and have posted social distancing signs throughout the stores. We have also worked directly with our Crew on best practices for social distances while working in the store and in the back rooms.

 

Store Crew are making hourly announcements reminding customers of social distancing policies.

 

We have set a maximum number of customers allowed in our stores at one time based on square footage. In addition, we will be adhering to any city, county or state orders regarding how many people can be in a store at any given time, which may be based on square footage of the store or a percentage of maximum occupancy. Some of our stores will naturally fit within these limits and others will need to have a Crew member at the doors managing the number of people allowed inside.

 

Plexiglass sneeze guards have been installed at every register to help in adhering to social distancing guidelines and help support the health and wellbeing of our Crew and customers during the check-out process.

Has Natural Grocers instituted a ‘health check’ policy for the good4u Crew?

 

Yes. We have begun a health check policy, which requires all Crew to take their temperature and to check for other COVID-19 related symptoms prior to reporting for their shifts. If any Crew have a temperature of 99.6° F degrees or above, they are required to stay until they have been fever-free for at least 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing drugs. Good4u Crew can use their paid time off if they are sick and required to stay home.

May I use my reusable bag when I shop at Natural Grocers?

 

Yes. We are allowing customers to continue bringing reusable bags when they shop at Natural Grocers for the following reasons:

  • We have protective measures in place to reduce human-to-human contact and maintain a sanitary environment at our cashier stands, while allowing customers to use their own bags.
    • All customers are being asked to bag their own groceries, whether they bring in reusable bags, use the boxes we provide, or purchase new reusable bags.
    • Cashier stands are cleaned anytime a customer places personal property on the stand, whether it be a reusable bag, a purse, a lunch box, or a wallet.
  • There is no evidence suggesting that reusable bags are more likely to spread the virus, and there is no specific guidance regarding reusable bags from the CDC or FDA at this time
  • There IS evidence that the Plastics Industry Association is taking advantage of the current crisis by claiming that reusable bags are less safe than single-use plastic bags and calling for the overturn of plastic bag bans.
  • Natural Grocers has been a trailblazer in eliminating single-use plastic bags within the retail grocery industry since we eliminated them from our registers in 2009. As always, the wellbeing of our customers and good4uSM Crew is our highest priority. We will continue to monitor all guidelines and adapt accordingly moving forward.

Has Natural Grocers experienced any stocking or supply issues?

 

In addition to keeping our stores cleaned, our priorities have focused on keeping our shelves stocked with Always AffordableSM fresh 100% organic produce, groceries, household essentials and supplements.

 

We have worked closely with vendors and suppliers over the last few weeks to keep up with the high demand and the effects of hoarding. Despite our best efforts, customers may have not been able to always find exactly what they were looking for during recent visits to their local store. Our Crew is working diligently to keep up with supply and demand, and we are starting to see the supply chain return to normal, some areas more quickly than others.

Does Natural Grocers offer delivery?

 

Home delivery is available at most of our stores through Instacart at www.instacart.com/natural-grocers

The Hailey, ID; Pagosa Springs, CO; Salida, CO stores do not currently offer Instacart.

Please note: Due to an extremely high volume of orders, Instacart may have delays or cancellations. While we are keeping our Instacart representatives updated on all feedback, we ask our customers to reach out to Instacart for direct support with their orders:

  • Call Customer Support at 1 (888) 246-7822
    • There are some long wait times right now so below is an alternative for customers to schedule their own callback*
  • Navigate the Help section on their website or mobile app for support –
    • Select “Report a Problem” or “Contact Us”
      • Reporting a Problem notifies Instacart of the issue directly related to the specific order
      • Select “Contact Us” to schedule a call with Instacart customer service

Is Natural Grocers doing anything about hoarding?

 

We have put up signs around the stores asking people not to hoard so that there is enough to go around for everyone.

 

We have also instituted a new return policy, which we hope will help curb hoarding. Natural Grocers will no longer accept returns of prepackaged bulk, special ordered bulk and perishable items (dairy, frozen, deli, meat and produce). Customers will be allowed one (1) return per receipt from other categories in the store (grocery, vitamins and body care). All unopened hand sanitizer will be accepted as returns through May 1, 2020.

Will Natural Grocers be instituting a curbside pickup option?

 

Under the circumstances, implementing curbside pickup is not currently feasible. But our good4u Crew is available at any time to help customers, to quickly find what they are looking for and to expedite their visit to the store.