TPSS Covid-19 Response

Since March 6th, TPSS has introduced a variety of safety procedures and precautionary methods to keep our staff, our customers, and our community healthy. Our goal is to continue to provide groceries and needed resources to our shoppers in the safest possible setting.  Below is a list of steps TPSS has taken towards these goals.  

Customers

  1. Instituted an online ordering system on 3/28 to keep customers and staff safe and socially distanced

  2. Instituted Co-op To Go-Op to offer same day shopping options without close contact

  3. Pickups of online orders and to-go boxes take place on contactless pickup tables

  4. TPSS is not accepting back physical items once they leave the store to reduce any risk of transmission

  5. Reusable items such as glass milk containers and bulk water containers are returned by customers to the outside shed without contact by staff members

When Store Was Open To the Public

  1. Limited entry to increase distancing

  2. Handwashing station outside

  3. Social distancing encouraged

  4. Hand sanitizer available to staff and customers

  5. Plexiglass shields installed at registers

  6. Common touch items such as coffee and hot prepared foods removed

  7. Shortened store hours to 9-7pm to limit exposure

  8. Endcaps and displays removed to provide more distancing space

  9. Carts sanitized after each use

  10. High touch areas, like credit card processing machines and bulk department scoops and handles sanitized frequently

Staff

  1.  Masks required to be worn; gloves required to be worn; hand sanitizer available at all times; handwashing frequently encouraged.

  2. Staff continue to benefit from increased wages, health insurance, and Health Reimbursement Accounts from the Union Contract; no furloughs or layoffs or hour reductions for any staff members; temporary staff members were hired from the community who needed jobs 

  3. Increased employee discount to promote staff avoiding other grocery stores; staff line of credit program to allow staff to stock up on supplies; Paid Time Off (PTO) pool available for staff in case individual PTO is insufficient to not have to use their own 

  4. Open doors to increase airflow in store; policy of at least 6 feet between any staff work stations; social distancing encouraged at all times; staff breakroom reworked to provide more distancing space; no one other than staff and customers is currently allowed inside the store including delivery drivers.

  5. All meetings take place with as few staff members as needed, and either outdoors or utilizing appropriately open space for the number of attendees. Non-essential meetings between staff have been cancelled or postponed. 

  6. Staff was given essential employee letters for any interactions with law enforcement regarding curfews; car rides are arranged to minimize how much staff must use public transportation.

Community

  1. Partnered with Crossroads Community Food Network to offer their Fresh Checks program doubling SNAP spending on fresh fruits and vegetables 

  2. Season sponsor of the Crossroads Farmers’ Market 

  3. First retailer in the state of Maryland to accept online EBT/SNAP orders by placing a contactless terminal outside for payments

  4. Advocated for the USDA to include Maryland as a pilot state for full online EBT/SNAP sales, which passed on 5/20

  5. First store nationally to transition to 100% online

  6. $6000 in donations to food assistance providers and community non-profits

  7. Continue to support OTBA and local businesses including a donation of PPE masks

  8. Continue to support the Montgomery County Food Council, especially in their Food Security Task Force work

  9. Continue to partner with Small Things Matter’s Kokua Food project, including providing space for weekly contactless food distributions, storing pantry donations, and providing at-cost sales on essentials for food distribution

  10. Initiated a Feed a Neighbor Fund that has raised almost $3000 so far to be redistributed to local hunger groups