Our Response to COVID-19

Added on March 29, 2020

Our Response to COVID-19

Updated on May 22, 2020

WHAT WE’RE DOING TO ADDRESS PUBLIC HEALTH CONCERNS IN LIGHT OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC:

- All staff are asked to self-monitor and stay home with any signs of illness.

- All staff must wash hands immediately upon entering the warehouse and frequently throughout the
day and avoid touching their face.

- All common surfaces, handles, etc., are being cleaned and disinfected through the day.

- Staff are always maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet. When distancing is not possible (i.e.: when
working closely at receiving freight orders, order check off) the use of cloth masks is encouraged.

- Limiting warehouse entry to staff only: we are asking customers picking up orders as well as
suppliers delivering orders to wait for service outside.

- Washing, air-drying, and sanitizing bins. Research suggests the COVID-19 virus can remain on hard
plastic surfaces for 2-3 days (though its viability apparently decreases over time). Our bins are
typically out of rotation for 5-7 days. (see "What You Can Do" below).

- Ensuring our drivers are equipped with hand sanitizer and a spray sanitizer (we are using a
hypochlorous acid solution, also known as electrolyzed water, an extremely effective and nontoxic
sanitizer) to spritz the handles of the new bins being delivered, to reduce the risk of cross-
contamination from empty bins being picked up.

- Our monthly Saturday Sales will be cancelled until further notice, due to COVID-19 concerns and the
difficulty of maintaining effective social distancing in our small space.

- We are reviewing/updating our COVID-19 policy on a regular basis, in accordance with WorkSafeBC and the Centre for Disease Control, and public health.

And, as no system can guarantee perfect elimination of risk, we ask that you help protect your own safety and the safety of our team in the following ways:

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

- Wash hands after opening your blue bin. Remove all produce and trimmings and wash your empty blue bin (and ice pack/wrap if applicable) before storing with lid ajar.

- PLEASE BE SURE TO LEAVE YOUR CLEAN EMPTY BLUE BINS (AND ICE PACKS) OUT ON YOUR DELIVERY DAY. We need to keep all bins in rotation, to ensure we have enough bins for these extra busy delivery weeks!

- Ideally, store your clean/dry bin outside with the lid ajar in your usual pickup spot so it does not need to be handled again before your next delivery.

- Rinse all produce for 20-30 seconds under running water before use. Those with immune-compromising conditions may also want to use a diluted bleach rinse (dilution ratios can be found online) then rinse with potable water before consuming (or research other solutions, like hypochlorous acid aka ""electrolyzed water").

- We encourage you to be your own expert! A little research goes a long way!

- Please avoid cash/cheque payments if possible. Online payments may be made via your online banking bill payment service (select Urban Harvest as a bill payee, using your customer number) or e-transfers to order@urbanharvest.ca. If you do not use online banking, ask us about mailing a cheque to our office.

- Please update your delivery spot if your normal location requires our driver to enter a building/open a gate/etc. A quick drop a few metres from your front door is best for maintaining social distancing.

- If you live in an apartment building, please contact us to update your delivery arrangements. Our preferred option is to drop your bin 2 metres from your apartment front door, or at your specified location. Our drivers can send a text alert at the time of delivery if you like.

- Please do not come outside to greet our drivers. We would love to see a friendly wave out your window, but for all our safety, please do not walk outside to hand us your empty bin at this time. Thank you for your understanding!

DOING OUR BEST TO KEEP UP!

As social distancing is everybody’s new normal, and some are quarantining or self-isolating, we are seeing unprecedented order volumes for our service, far beyond our current capacity to fulfil.

We are stretching beyond what we thought was our max capacity to accommodate as many flex customers as possible, and have placed a hiatus on new OR returning customer sign-ups until further notice, while also referring folks to other locally-based delivery options (e.g.: www.farmbound.ca, unearthedfarm.com/purchase, and valleydirect.com).

- Weekly customers: If you don’t need an order for the coming week, please submit your cancellation as soon as possible to open up spaces for flex customers. Also, if you think you can make do with a biweekly schedule for the next while, please let us know that and we will switch your schedule to biweekly for now.

- Biweekly customers: Currently, we are asking you to stay with your scheduled week to avoid taking spaces away from flex customers. You are welcome to cancel and defer your order to the next week, but if you’ve just had a delivery this week, we cannot schedule you in again next week. We will be reversing all unscheduled orders. If you have been away and are looking to resume earlier than your scheduled resume date, unfortunately, we are unable to reinstate your account early.

- Flex customers: While we are stretching our physical and human resources to meet as much of the demand as possible, it’s not going nearly as far as we would like. We appreciate that some of you have been disappointed over and over for the past few weeks (sorry for the disappointment!). Some of you have asked if we can hold you a space…. however, with hundreds more flex customers than spaces available there is no fair way that we can see to do this. We trust there will be some balancing out over time, and we will once again be able to provide the level of service that we can feel good about and you can trust. In the meantime, our order page opens at 4pm on Thursdays and we recommend you try ordering as early as possible to increase your chances. You can also check back periodically to see if you can access our order page, as spaces may open over the weekend due to cancellations coming in.

- If you have a prepaid credit on account with us, or if you have prepaid for an order that we were not able to fulfil, you can either keep your credit active for future use OR email us to request an e-transfer refund.

- We will continue to try to pack a limited number of “Grab Boxes” at the end of each week to help get more food to more people. They are NOT be customizable, but they offer good value! If you’re open-minded about what comes in the box and have the flexibility to pop down to pick up a box on short notice, this might work for you! No special requests and no add-ons, sorry! Please let us know if you are interested in being on a contact list if/when we have “grab boxes” available on Friday’s.

We thank you for your patience and your understanding in this uncertain and overwhelming time, and we apologize in advance if we are not able to fulfil your order in the coming weeks. Your ideas/feedback are very welcome – we will respond as we are able!

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