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Mountain View Market Cooperative (MVMC) – a longtime Las Cruces staple for local, natural, and organic foods, produce and wellness supplements – has adapted to COVID-19 with enhanced sanitization, personal protective gear, checkout shields and curbside delivery.
"We had begun the planning for a community-wide celebration for our 45th anniversary in April,” said Corinne Whitmill, outreach coordinator at MVMC. “Once the COVID-19 pandemic began spreading, we realized we would need to cancel the celebration while we focused on ensuring the safety of our staff and shoppers."
Whitmill said steps were begun in the first several days of March and have been evolving ever since. Protocols include regular sanitation of all high-touch surfaces with a bleach solution. Registers, countertop, scales and PIN pads are sanitized after every transaction.
Whitmill said MVMC has suspended the use of reusable bags for grocery purchases, instead offering customers the option of paper bags or cardboard boxes to carry out purchases.
In compliance with state mandates, the co-op's dining area closed, and all prepared foods were prepackaged, she said.
The store has reserved the first hour of each business day for serving seniors, immunocompromised and high-risk shoppers, she said. During regular hours, the store limits the number of shoppers to five at a time to ensure social distancing. Hand sanitizer and gloves are available for all shoppers and staff, and all staff members wear face masks.
In March, Whitmill said MVMC introduced call-in ordering.
“Shoppers call in their orders, pay over the phone and schedule a pick-up time. A customer service staffer does the shopping and brings the purchase out to the car. This service is completely free,” she said. “All call-ahead orders must be placed at least an hour before the end of business for same-day service. Orders placed after the cut-off time are processed the following day.
In response to limited product availability from its distributors, Whitmill said MVMC has put some restrictions on purchases. Paper products are limited to two of each kind per shopper, and selected foods and supplements are limited to three of each kind as required by the state.
“MVMC has been fortunate to work with many smaller and local vendors to keep most of its products in stock,” she said. “At this time, the produce department is fully stocked with local and certified organic fruits and vegetables. The grocery department is receiving full shipments again, and most essentials are available. We’ll continue working with its distributors to ensure that good, healthy, and local food is available to all.”
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