Natural Grocers has added multiple benefits—including raises, bonuses, and additional paid time off availability—to support its good4u Crew during the coronavirus pandemic.
At all locations, Natural Grocers employees are receiving disposable gloves and face masks. Since there is a shortage of masks, multiple good4u Crew members from all parts of the company have made masks for in-store, distribution center and bulk manufacturing employees.
So that employees won't incur any out-of-pocket expenses, the company will pay all coronavirus/COVID-19 medical costs for employees who have medical insurance through Natural Grocers:
- COVID-19 diagnostic visits—Natural Grocers will pay for diagnostic visits with in-network providers, whether at a provider's office, urgent care center, emergency room or via virtual care, through May 31.
- COVID-19 testing—Natural Grocers will pay for FDA-approved COVID-19 testing through May 31.
- COVID-19 treatment—Natural Grocers will pay for for COVID-19-related treatment provided by in-network providers through May 31.
Regarding pay, employees who work in the stores or bulk manufacturing areas have received raises of $2 per hour, effective March 23. Of that increase, $1 per hour will be in effect until May 3, and $1 per hour will be permanent. Crew members who work in the stores have received two discretionary bonuses, while those who work in bulk manufacturing have received one discretionary bonus in the past four weeks.
Also, sneeze guards have been installed at each register to help mitigate potential exposure. Customers are being asked to bag or box their own purchases. If a customer places a reusable bag or other personal item at the bagging station, a staff member will clean the bagging station before assisting the next customer.
The company is continuing the paid-leave policy it implemented in mid-March, providing up to 2 weeks of paid leave to all good4u Crew (both full-time and part-time) if they are diagnosed with COVID-19 or if they are placed under mandatory quarantine by public health authorities. If Crew are ill but cannot get tested for COVID-19, Natural Grocers will provide up to one week of paid leave.
Natural Grocers has hired 700 temporary workers dispersed through all stores to assist with cleaning and stocking.
More changes in Natural Grocers stores
To support a safe environment as possible, a staff member will man the front entrance of each store to clean carts for customers as they enter and ensure social distancing measures are being followed.
A maximum number of customers, based on the store's square footage, will be allowed in at one time. All stores will adhere to any city, county or state orders regarding how many people can be in a store at any given time, which may be based on square footage of the store or a percentage of maximum occupancy.
Effective April 6, all stores will close at 8:05 p.m. (instead of 7:05 p.m., which began March 24) so employees can restock and thoroughly clean the stores.
Also, an additional hour, from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays, will be available exclusively for seniors (ages 60 and older), pregnant women and individuals with underlying medical conditions. Anyone included in these categories may be accompanied by someone if they need assistance shopping. The company previously designated 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Sundays as a time for those same customers; that hour is still in effect.
New store hours will remain in effect until further notice and apply to all 157 Natural Grocers stores located in Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Idaho, Kansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.
Home delivery via Instacart continues to be available at most Natural Grocers locations.