As the new coronavirus known as COVID-19 has reached the United States, there is a lot of conflicting information out there about the risks and what we can all do to prepare. At the Grain Train, the health and well-being of our community is a top priority for us, so we wanted to share with you a few of the things we are doing to prepare for the possibility of an outbreak here in Northern Michigan, as well as the sources we are following to stay up-to-date.
There are currently two presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, both in the Detroit area, according to the most recent data from the Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Because of the likelihood that it will eventually reach our area, we are following food industry guidelines to create a contingency plan so we can continue to serve our community while limiting the spread of illness and keeping our team and customers safe.
In the meantime, while good hygiene is foundational to all of our processes, we are doubling down on emphasizing the importance of proper hand-washing techniques to our team as well as increasing the frequency with which surfaces and utensils in the stores and cafe are sanitized. We are also temporarily suspending our sampling program out of an abundance of caution; this will include the tastings that Angela does each Thursday. Although sampling is a favorite at our stores, we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep our community safe. We're monitoring the situation closely and as circumstances evolve, you will likely see more changes around the store designed to help prevent the spread of illness.
We are working to stay in stock for as long as possible on key items that have been in unusually high demand nationwide. If we are out of stock, check back soon as we will continue trying to get these products. Even as these become harder to get, please know that we will continue to try to find products that meet our product guidelines, because we believe you should never have to choose between your family’s health and the health of the planet.
We will also never engage in price gouging. In the broader market, some high-demand items have become prohibitively expensive as companies take advantage of people’s fears. We work hard to bring high-quality products to our community at affordable prices at all times, and that is as important to us now as ever.
For more information, you can find daily updates from MDHHS at michigan.gov/coronavirus and their most recent FAQ here. We’re also paying attention to the World Health Organization’s advice for the public, including recommendations for how and when to use face masks.
We share this information in hopes of instilling comfort and confidence that as your community grocery store, we are paying close attention to the world around us and taking extra precautions to keep our team and customers safe. We can’t know how this outbreak will look when it reaches Northern Michigan, but the Grain Train will continue to do everything we can to support the health of our community.