The health and safety of our team members and guests, as well as the cleanliness of our stores, remains a top priority at The Fresh Market. We are actively working with our safety experts, vendors and suppliers to ensure we are taking all precautionary measures and adhering to recommendations from public health officials to prevent the spread of germs.
Last Updated March, 24, 2020
The Fresh Market’s Response to COVID-19
As we continue to serve the community during this public health crisis, our top priority remains providing safe, clean and well-stocked stores for our guests to shop in, and our team members to work in. We are following all public health recommendations and are modifying procedures as the situation evolves.
Following are some of the measures we have taken:
STORE HOURS The Fresh Market has temporarily changed our hours of operation for stores with extended hours to 8 AM – 9 PM, seven days a week.
NOTE: Some individual store hours may change slightly to accommodate local ordinances being put in place. Any changes to specific store hours will be communicated on your local store’s Facebook page and guest email, in addition to signage at the store.
RESERVED SHOPPING HOURS FOR THOSE AT HIGHER RISK On weekdays the first shopping hour of 8 AM – 9 AM will be reserved for seniors and other individuals most at risk as identified by the CDC. We ask that our other guests who do not fall into a higher risk category respect this reserved hour.
FOOD SUPPLY & AVAILABILITY Although there were some early disruptions in the supply chain, The Fresh Market has worked diligently with our suppliers to mitigate any disruption to our food deliveries.
We receive deliveries throughout the day and are continuously replenishing our stores. We ask that guests purchase only for their immediate needs. In some areas, we are temporarily limiting purchase quantities on some items in higher demand such as milk, eggs, chicken, paper products, and disinfectants.
We are implementing other temporary modifications at the store to follow CDC guidance, including physical distancing adjustments, pausing in-store sampling and changing how some of our products may be displayed, sold or returned.
HEALTH AND SAFETY ENHANCEMENTS IN OUR STORES We continue to reinforce the enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols throughout the store, including having dedicated team members to continually disinfect high touch point areas.
Physical distancing visual guidance and signs have been posted in stores. Where mandated by local health authorities, we are limiting the number of guests allowed in our store at a time.
The CDC does not recommend wearing surgical face masks as a protective measure for healthy people. Face masks are only recommended for individuals who are sick to help contain the virus, or for the health care workers treating them. Because we do not permit any team member who is sick (even with a cold) to work in our store, we have advised all of our team members to not wear face masks for the simple reason that they are not effective as a protective measure.
As with face masks, wearing disposable gloves does not provide additional protection against viruses. Since coronavirus is spread through droplets, gloves would not mitigate the transmission of this disease. For these reasons, we do not recommend the use of disposable gloves in specific areas of the store that do not handle food preparation, such as the Front End at the registers. The best preventative measure is following good hygiene practices and washing your hands frequently with soap and water to help mitigate the spread of germs and disease.
SUPPORTING OUR TEAM MEMBERS The Fresh Market has established resources for team members, including a health advocate to answer their medical questions, and a hotline for team members to access seven days a week.
As in past special circumstances, we have enacted a Temporary COVID-19 Pay Policy, which allows for payment for up to 2 weeks of missed work if a team member is required to be placed under mandatory quarantine.
We have increased the team member discount on their food purchases at The Fresh Market by 10% which is incremental to the 20% discount they regularly receive. The stores have also designated a time for Team Members to shop up to 30 minutes after closing to the public.
In consideration of the surge in business during the last few weeks and the additional protocols we have put in place that has added extra work for our store teams, we are thanking them for their dedication with special recognition in our store team members compensation.
HIRING We are actively hiring additional team members to support our stores in this time of need. Please go to careers.thefreshmarket.com to apply.
THANK YOU TO OUR GUESTS We want to thank our guests for your kind words and the support you have shown our team members during this time. It is very much appreciated, and we are grateful to be able to serve our communities.
Letter from our President & CEO, Jason Potter, on Tuesday, March 17, 2020
To Our Valued Guests:
Despite the uncertainty of this unfolding situation related to coronavirus containment efforts, The Fresh Market is committed to remaining open and well-stocked so we can serve our communities, while maintaining the highest standards of store cleanliness and safety for our guests and team members.
In addition to the enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols we have implemented, we continue to reinforce good hygiene practices among our team members in accordance with all public health recommendations.
Letter From Jason Potter on Thursday, March 12, 2020
The health and safety of our guests, as well as team members, remains a top priority at all 159 of The Fresh Market’s store locations. As the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation evolves, we want to assure you that we are taking significant precautionary measures and adhering to recommendations from public health officials, as well as continuing to maintain our high standards of cleanliness.
We have assembled a multifunctional task force that includes key leaders cross the organization who meet daily to ensure we continue to address all facets of his developing situation. This team is equipped with contingency plans to respond to a variety of different scenarios so that we may react swiftly if any of the areas where we operate are impacted. We are actively working with our safety experts, vendors and suppliers to ensure that we can continue to offer you the best of fresh, specialty foods and meal offerings.
The Fresh Market Frequently Asked Questions On COVID-19 Safety Procedures
As public health authorities, communities and businesses continue to navigate the evolving coronavirus situation, we want our guests to know that their health and well-being is our top priority, as is that of our team members.
We understand you may have some questions on the specific precautionary measures that we are implementing, as well as how best to continue to provide our guests a warm, welcoming and safe shopping environment.
We hope the following answers some of your questions. If you have additional questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact your store manager.
Q. What steps has The Fresh Market taken to ensure their team members are following the CDC guidelines for preventing the spread of germs?
A. We have reiterated to team members in emails, daily store management huddles and department meetings, as well as with signage in-store and in the breakrooms the recommended CDC guidelines for good hygiene practices.
Additionally, we have gone above and beyond our stringent sanitation program to add additional checkpoints across the organization to enhance these existing protocols. This includes adding additional labor hours dedicated to cleaning high-traffic areas, and wiping down carts, baskets and handles.
We have also modified our sick day policies to ensure that team members know they should not report to work if they exhibit any symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath or coughing, and to seek medical attention.
Q. How will I be notified if my local store has been impacted?
A. The most efficient way is to sign up for Fresh News and Offers. These are customized per your nearest store location, so we can send you any relevant news and events.
You can also sign up for these emails in store, or you can follow your local store on Facebook.
Additionally, in the event a store has been impacted, we will also have signage at the front door, letting our guests know what actions are being taken and when we are expected to re-open.
Q. How can I help as a guest shopper?
A. We have provided disinfecting wipes at all of our stores for guests to use to wipe their hands as well as the shopping cart handles. We have also temporarily suspended self-serve sampling, but please ask a team member if there is a product you would like to try.
We also offer online shopping and delivery if that is a more convenient option.
Q. What is my store management doing?
A. Along with following guidance from the CDC and local health authorities, increasing our cleaning and sanitizing schedule, we have also sent a comprehensive store emergency planning checklist to our store leadership teams that provide scenario-based procedural information on how to report and support anyone that may express they’ve been impacted by the virus, including store closure decision making support.
Q. Who is the Reserved Shopping Hour for?
A. The reserved shopping hour from 8 AM to 9 AM on weekdays, Monday – Friday, is designated for guests who consider themselves an older adult, or someone who is in a higher risk category due to underlying health conditions. We have designated this hour to help them feel more comfortable shopping in our stores.
We are not tying it to a specific age or asking for any kind of proof, but would ask that guests respect these special hours for those who fall into the higher risk categories as outlined by the CDC, which include:
- Older Adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and lung disease
Q. What if I am shopping with my elderly parents?
A. If you do not fall in the higher risk category, we ask that you leave your parents at home and shop for them outside of the special shopping hour if at all possible.
Q. Will you ask a guest to leave if they do not meet these criteria?
A. We cannot ask a guest to leave since it is inappropriate to ask someone their age or about their present health condition. We are asking our guests to respect this designated shopping hour on the weekdays, and want to ensure all of our guests that we are receiving deliveries of food through the day to keep our stores well-stocked, so there is no need to feel obligated to shop when the store first opens unless you feel you fall into a higher risk category.
We also offer online shopping and delivery at shop.thefreshmarket.com for those who cannot leave the house.
Q. Why are your Cashiers not wearing face masks or gloves?
A. The safety and wellbeing of our team members is our top priority. We are following all of the guidelines recommended by the CDC and other public health authorities. Surgical face masks are actually not recommended by the CDC as a protective measure for healthy people. They are recommended for those individuals that are sick from a respiratory illness to help contain the virus or for those individuals that are caring for individuals with a respiratory illness.
Because we would send any team member who is sick (even with a cold) home, we have advised all of our team members to not wear face masks for the simple reason that they are not effective as a protective measure.
As with face masks, the same goes for our cashiers not wearing gloves. According to public health experts, wearing disposable gloves does not provide additional protection against viruses, including the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Since the Coronavirus is spread through droplets, gloves would not mitigate the transmission of this disease. While gloves can protect your hands from coming into contact with these droplets, they will still remain on the surface of the gloves and may even last there for longer if they are not washed frequently, leading to an increased risk of catching the virus by touching your face or food with your gloves, as well as the risk of passing it on to others.
For these reasons, we do not recommend the use of disposable gloves in specific areas of the store that do not handle food preparation, such as the Front End at the registers. The best preventative measure is following good hygiene practices and washing your hands frequently with soap and water to help mitigate the spread of germs and disease.
For more details on COVID-19, news updates and preparedness, visit the CDC’s website.