Many Summit County businesses announcing policy changes amid COVID-19 outbreak
FRISCO — Following the emergence of the new coronavirus in Summit County and neighboring mountain communities, many businesses have put out notifications detailing precautionary measures and information about the virus. While many have shared standard methods to prevent the spread of the virus, including frequent hand washing and staying home when sick, some companies are making changes to the way they do business.
Shelves were barren in aisles containing cleaning supplies and paper goods at local grocery and big-box supply stores Tuesday. City Market and Target posted signs explaining they would limit the amount of disinfectant wipes and hand sanitizer a customer could buy. City Market also was limiting the number of cold and flu products to five per order.
Marc Ofsowitz, manager of the City Market in Dillon, said the store is running out of things because the manufacturer can’t keep up with the demand. He said the store receives new shipments of supplies like hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes every day, but they continue to sell out. He noted that while the store is selling out of name brand sanitation items, it does have generic or natural options available. Ofsowitz said “mass hysteria” surrounding coronavirus is leading people to buy things in bulk that they normally wouldn’t.
Ofsowitz also said the store is not providing food samples, a Kroger-wide rule that began Friday. To keep high-contact surfaces such as door handles and grocery carts clean, the store is stepping up its routine cleaning to every hour.
“We’re doing everything for everybody that we can,” Ofsowitz said.
Frisco’s Safeway is having similar stocking issues, according to store manager Jairo Martinez.
“We’ve just been running out of basic sanitary stuff and a lot of water,” Martinez said.
Martinez said the store also is cleaning more frequently to protect customers.
Starbucks President and Executive VP Rossann Williams posted an open letter detailing the precautionary measures Starbucks stores are taking, including temporarily doing away with filling reusable cups.
“We are pausing the use of personal cups and ‘for here’ ware in our stores,” Williams wrote.
REI, another national company with a store in Summit County, sent an email to customers explaining updated terms for cancellations and refunds for REI events and travel programs. The change aims to prevent financial penalties for customers who cancel in the wake of the outbreak. The email also noted that the company has modified paid time off policies to allow employees, including hourly employees, to take time off due to illness.
Vail Resorts, which operates two ski areas in Summit County, posted a notice for its guests stating the resorts are open for business.
Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz also sent an email to employees with a phone number for the Vail Resorts coronavirus hotline, advising them to call if a guest or employee reports an illness or has a medical event related to the coronavirus outbreak. Loveland Ski Area sent a similar email to employees, encouraging them to contact a manager if a guest reports an illness or if employees observe a co-worker who they believe to be ill.
Fitness facilities also are on high alert. At Frisco’s Barre Forte, owner Katelyn Huston said she is sanitizing shared equipment more often and posted a sign on the studio door asking guests to do the same.
The Silverthorne Recreation Center has added sanitation stations to the facility, is cleaning equipment and other high-contact surfaces more frequently, and has posted informational signage related to the virus around the center, according to Silverthorne spokeswoman Kim Jardim.
In Dillon, Peak Yoga sent out an email urging people to stay home if they feel sick, bring their own yoga mat and props, and to carefully disinfect equipment after use. In the email, yoga studio owner Pinna Gallant suggested customers bring personal items such as pillowcases or towels to place over communal props. The studio also offered membership extensions for sick patrons by emailing a doctor’s note.
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