Driving through Weaverville the morning after the governor’s executive stay at home order, one could find little difference from the day before. In fact, most stores were still open, people were still fueling up at local gas stations, and there seemed to be slightly more people on the sidewalks. Over the weekend, some stores have closed, and others have limited their hours and direct customer contact.
While the order was issued to protect the public health, it noted that some may continue to work for the good of all.
“The supply chain must continue, and Californians must have access to such necessities as food, prescriptions, and health care,” the order stated. “When people need to leave their homes or places of residence, whether to obtain or perform the functions above, or to otherwise facilitate authorized necessary activities, they should at all times practice social distancing.”
Changes have been made in local stores to minimize potential for virus spread. In Holiday Market Friday, customers were no longer able to serve themselves in the hot deli but instead, had an employee serve it up. By Monday, that same food was packaged by employees and placed in the hot case.
Jeff Edenburn, manager of Holiday Market, could not talk about store business, saying only “Everybody is working really hard to provide for the community.”
Wiley’s Market in Hayfork reached out to at-risk populations last week by offering special shopping hours just for them. Store manager Kenny Wiley said the store specifically set aside time to serve local seniors.
The market will be open from 7 to 8 a.m., catering only to people over 65 and their caregivers. The Centers for Disease Control have previously stated that those most at-risk are seniors and people with lung disease, heart conditions, or other underlying medical conditions.
“If the CDC says you fit the ‘at risk’ [category], we’re open for you.” he said. Wiley further explained that the early hours are best for the purpose, since staff would have spent the previous evening sanitizing the entire store.
“Those people would get the most sanitary store possible,” he said, noting that the store also has sanitizing wipes for customers to clean shopping cart handles. Grocery belts, door handles, card readers and other items in high traffic areas will be wiped down regularly, he said.
“Now we’re doing it hundreds of times a day, rather than just a few,” he said.
Wiley also noted that if an employee shows even the slightest symptoms, they are sent home.
“It’s more work for the rest of the employees,” he said, “but we’re doing OK. We have not had to change hours.”
Short-term groceries and supplies will be restocked with more bulk-type items. Wiley said most customers there typically only shop for a few days at a time, so the previous stock of smaller quantities was suited to them. Now, with the higher demand, rice, beans, sugar, water and such, will be available in bulk quantities.
Wiley said the store gets its deliveries on Tuesdays and told customers not to come in on a Saturday expecting the store to be fully stocked.
“But we’re ordering bigger bags of dry food items now, to meet the needs of people,” he said.