Nipawin grocery stores adapt to pandemic

NIPAWIN— Nipawin’s three grocery stores are adapting to the pandemic.

Matt's No Frills

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Matt’s No Frills are currently looking for temporary workers.

Matthew Lebeau, Matt’s No Frills owner, said that non-reusable plastic bags are being recommended for customers to use for the duration of the pandemic. Plastic bag fees have been waived.

“If your cloth or reusable bag has been contaminated and you bring it into a store, you run potential risk of spreading the virus, obviously,” Lebeau said.

One member of a household shopping at one time is recommended. A sign has been installed in the front door detailing COVID-19 symptoms, and asking customers that if they are sick to have a friend or other community member do their shopping for them.

There is not a Matt’s No Frills store delivery service at this time.

Their store hours have changed slightly, moving to 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week.

From 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays is “senior hour.” During senior hour, seniors and physically challenged residents can do their shopping without crowds or added stress.

“Maintain social distancing and try not to get too close to anyone.”

Debit or credit cards are the preferred payment option. Cash will still be accepted at this time, but it is not recommended.

“Cash is dirty and changing hands and stuff like that runs the potential of spreading the virus,” Lebeau said.

A plexiglass barrier has been installed at all cash registers for added protection.

“Obviously sanitization and everything kind of stepped up quite a bit. The floors get sanitized at night, we sanitize the shelves now probably twice a week— once every couple of days,” Lebeau said. “All the cashiers and staff all use hand sanitizer throughout their day during their shift.”

Delivery shipments have been increased to seven days a week, two more days of shipments than the store was previously receiving.

Lebeau said it may be a high stress time, but he’s asking that the mutual respect between the customer and employee be at an “all time high.”

“We’re all in this together,” he said. “Everybody’s got to work together and it’s not a fun situation for anyone, but if we all work together I feel like we will come out to the other end of this unscaved.”

Pineland Co-op

The Nipawin Pineland Co-op food store is operating at normal hours.

The first hour of the shopping day, seven days a week, is reserved for shoppers who are elderly or immunocompromised.

“We have enhanced sanitizing procedures at all of our locations,” said Tammy Nilson, Pineland’s human resources manager. “That includes more frequent sanitization of all our touch point areas in our food store, and our gas bars as well, right from sanitizing the carts, the conveyor belts, the till areas, the pin pads for debit card machines and all other normal touch points.”

Employees are instructed to wash their hands every 15 minutes.

Customers are asked to shop alone, if possible, and maintain a two metre social distance from others.

Reusable bags are discouraged, and the fee for plastic bags have been temporarily waived. If a customer brings a reusable bag in, they will be required to bag their own groceries.

Floor markings have been implemented at tills to instruct costumers to keep a distance. These markings can also be found at other areas of the store.

Plexiglass till guards have been installed to keep customers and employees safe.

All debit card pads have been moved at the cash register, to make it more accessible to the customer while maintaining distance.

The Pineland Co-op offers a delivery service, which can be reached at 306-862-4320.

As of March 27, the delivery service is operating as it was before the pandemic.

Nilson said management are looking to see if there are ways to adapt it to better suit the needs of the community at this time.

“That is a service that can be changed, or enhanced, in the future,” she said.

Tap with credit or debit is the preferred payment option. Second preferred payment option is inserting the card. Cash is still accepted, but discouraged.

Save-U IGA

Toilet paper has been arriving on every store supplies truck to Save-U IGA. They are limiting one pack per customer.

Jarvis Diamond, IGA’s general manager, said customers may not be able to get their first choice in meat, produce, milk and groceries, but there is usually an alternative option.

“I am on a daily call from home with our district and the district manager for updates and our warehouses are going full force to supply us,” Diamond said.

Plexiglass barriers have been installed at cash registers between customers and employees.

For payment, tap is the best option, followed by inserting their card or chip. Cash is still accepted at this time.

Reusable bags are discouraged, and the fee for plastic bags have been temporarily waived. If a customer brings a reusable bag in, they will be required to bag their own groceries.

Customers are asked to do their best to stay two metres apart from one another and store employees.

“We would encourage, if there is a family, if one person out of the family could come shop if possible.”

Hours haven’t been affected. There is no designated hour for elderly or immunocompromised customers.

“We haven’t designated one, but we would highly recommend they either shop the first hour of the day or the last hour of the day. There are much less people in the stores,” Diamond said.

Delivery services can be reached at 306-862-4331.

There is a $5 fee to have the employees to gather the groceries, and another $5 to deliver them.

Payment for delivery is done by cash, or cheque for those who qualify through being an existing customer.

“Most of our delivery customers are seniors and they’ve been a regular for decades.”

The cash or cheque is left in a pre-specified place on the doorstep.

“If you know a friend who can come out and get your groceries it’s probably a good choice as well. Just because they would know you better and our challenge often is picking the right item. If they’re a new customer it can sometimes be difficult to understand their order completely.”

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