Hello friends and community,
This letter serves as a resource to better understand how Vermont Bicycle Shop policies and practices for COVID-19.
It’s important to note that some policy changes may take place before an update to this notice happens. We do our best to publish this information via social media and more as fast as we can. Oftentimes our need to make a change will happen with little or no notice. It is always best to call or email if you have any questions or special needs.
Our goal since last March has been to do our best to stay ahead of the curve in our responses to COVID 19, we plan to continue to act and err on the side of extreme caution in order to best serve customers who rely on our diligence on these matters. Some of these customers have significant health concerns and compromised immune systems, others have felt peace of mind and trust due to our diligence.
Plainly put, we will be operating with mask requirements that are stricter for much longer than other businesses and probably longer than some folks might think is necessary. We do apologize for any inconvenience this may cause and if there is some way we can accommodate you without impacting other customers we’re happy to do so.
It’s important to note that the COVID virus is strong, and continues to spread and mutate nearly unchecked. Transmission of recent new strains of COVID happen through vaccinated individuals as much as those without vaccination. In the past, when a population reached an effective vaccination rate (for COVID in the US that number is around 75% of the population) there has still been a need for a good amount of time for the virus to weaken. When the “Spanish” flu first came to the US it was very strong and deadly. The flu we experience today is different from that flu. The flu we experience today is weakened by our vaccination rates, and the more people vaccinated and participating in spreading the flu each year the weaker it becomes. In an overly simplified way of looking at it, once enough of us are vaccinated the hope is COVID will become weaker (like the flu) and less consequential to our health. Only if and when this happens, will we be able to go back to a, most likely new, “normal. The more each of us does our part the faster this happens.
Here are our policies currently in place:
- Masks Required: You must wear a mask at all times and masks must be in place before entering the store or before using our curbside and direct to vehicle services.
- Direct to Vehicle Service: We are happy to meet you at your vehicle for pick up and drop off of purchases and repairs and is something we have always offered. Masks are required and must be worn covering your nose and mouth, even if you aren’t leaving your vehicle for this service. You can call us when you arrive and we’ll meet you at your vehicle, we wear nitrile rubber gloves and masks, we can collect your items you are dropping off for service, or deliver your prepaid items directly to your vehicle. Often we can take card payments right at your vehicle, in the rare instance this doesn’t work, we can also take your card into the shop and run it for you!
- Curbside Services Expand: We will have curbside drop off and pick up for service work and sales.
More details about our operating procedures and policies moving forward:
While COVID transmission through surfaces has shown to be almost non-existent, it can still happen. We continue to disinfect touch points and any interaction points many times throughout the day, often between each customer. We will continue our current COVID-19 practices concerning cleaning and disinfecting.
Even before the current outbreak, Vermont Bicycle Shop had plans in place concerning the health of our employees at the shop and with consideration of the health of our customers.
• Vermont Bicycle Shop offers paid sick leave. We discourage employees from working or being at work while ill.
• Vermont Bicycle Shop regularly disinfects touch points throughout the shop and has a regular cleaning schedule.
• Vermont Bicycle Shop provides sterile equipment (such as nitrile gloves) to protect the health of employees and encourages using them as a protection to maintain health and wellness.
• If you’ve had service at Vermont Bicycle Shop you already know that we clean every bike that is left with us for any significant amount of service. We typically use 99% alcohol in our cleaning process.
• Staff members will not be permitted to work if symptomatic or while recovering from illness.
Our COVID 19 response has been adapted in accordance with the CDC and the National Retail Federation to further ensure the health and happiness of our customers and employees.
To that end our plans and strategies are based on these 4 principles:
- Continuity – We have developed a plan and are prepared to handle employee absenteeism. If people become ill and need to stay away from the workforce, we have considered how that will impact our business operations. We are improving the cross training of our staff and when needed we have identified priority services in the event we are faced with less staff so that we can continue to offer services.
- Protecting the Workforce – We already actively encourage sick employees to stay out of the workplace. Our sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with or better than public health guidance. We have developed an emergency and long term sick leave plan for staff. Since COVID began we have increased our routine environmental cleaning and disinfecting strategies. We have increased from 1 time a day to 5 times a day the process of cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces throughout the shop and outside the shop using approved disinfectant products as outlined by the CDC and the National Retail Federation.
We have cancelled attendance and staff traveling for industry events. We routinely check CDC’s latest travel notices. We have asked our employees to not travel, and have a policy in place should they travel that they must provide proof of quarantine and a negative COVID test before returning to work.
We have provided appropriate PPE and COVID At-Home testing kits for free to our staff.
In order to ensure the policies we’ve implemented are accurate we have focused on a direct resource for information regarding these points so that it comes directly from the CDC and the National Retail Federation.
- Protecting Customers – There are many customers who have compromised immune systems who patronize Vermont Bicycle Shop. If you are sick or feel symptoms of illness please consider that not all business operations have to be done face to face. Consider alternate ways to conduct business that minimize close contact between employees and customers. It is policy that anyone showing symptoms of illness not enter our store, we may at times check temperatures and ask a few short questions before allowing entrance. Our concern is to be mindful of those who are healthy and may have compromised or weakened immune systems. We have hygiene products like hand sanitizer available to customers and employees at no charge. If you have further questions about our policies we are ready to respond. If customers need further information regarding the health of our store and have concerns about interaction with us please feel free to contact us. Our customers' health and happiness is our first priority. We are happy to disclose if we have had visitors that displayed symptoms of illness in the store before you visit us. If you have concerns or have a compromised immune system feel free to contact us before coming in to ensure we have readied our store appropriately.
- Community – Outbreaks and responses are not consistent in every community and region. Above all else we feel it is important to identify reliable sources of public health information in our community and to attempt to utilize reliable and accurate public health information where it is applicable to our business.
We have close relationships to the other retailers around us and we often collaborate with the other businesses on community resources and information. We will continue to work with everyone in our community in response when it becomes necessary to ensure the health of everyone we interact with.
As retailers we will continue to monitor NRF’s Coronavirus Resources for Retailers web page, which will be updated as the situation evolves.
Thank you for supporting us at Vermont Bicycle Shop.We believe that serving our community must come first, and through that I hope we continue to earn your business, your trust, and your support.