It’s mostly business as usual for area grocery stores as far as hours of operation are concerned. And, depending on store location, what can be found inside is mostly the same as well.
However, concerns about the spread of COVID-19 mean that some things have indeed changed. And there’s a bit of uncertainty about what the future will hold.
Safeway Director of Communication and Public Affairs Jill McGinnis has announced that the store will reserve every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 a.m. for vulnerable shoppers, “such as pregnant women or those with compromised immune systems, who have been advised to avoid leaving home as much as possible,” McGinnis said in a press release. Store hours are being continuously updated; she advises checking www.safeway.com for the most updated information.
Rosauers President and CEO Jeff Philipps has announced similar store hours for at-risk shoppers, including pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. Tuesday and Thursday mornings have also been set aside for these neighbors from 7-9 a.m.
“While there may be some minor inconveniences for others, we are confident that people will respect the need to protect the health of those most at risk,” said Phillips. “We thank customers in advance for their understanding and support.”
McIsaacs in Parkdale is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Assistant Manager Betheny Roberts said that staff is trying to stay on top of orders, but they’re having difficulties keeping some items on the shelves. “We are trying to limit the things that go out the door to let everyone have a chance,” she said, such as toilet paper and paper towels. “We had inventory on Monday and it was gone in a couple of hours,” she said. Items like rice, beans, flour and sugar are also in demand.
Deliveries depend on what suppliers can provide. “People need to be conscientious — they’re not the only ones looking for stuff,” she said. “If you don’t need it, don’t get it. That’s hard in this mindset right now.”
Staff are wiping surfaces “constantly,” she said, but customers can additionally help by limiting what they touch while inside: If you’re not going to take it, then don’t touch it.
In Cascade Locks, Columbia Market is also staying open during their usual business hours of 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily. They too are seeing demand for items that are in short supply, and have even had people from as far as Salem come in to buy toilet paper.
What they have on the shelves depends on their supplier. Earlier this week, the store ordered 22 cases of toilet paper — and saw two cases delivered.
“This run on toilet paper — we got our shipment (Tuesday) and it’s already gone today (Wednesday),” said Night Supervisor Forest Rodgers. He is concerned for elderly customers who need toilet paper and are unable to find any. “We have to put limits on items because of the amount available to us, to be fair to everyone,” said Rodgers.
Over in Odell at Mid Valley Market, managers are taking it day by day. “We don’t have different hours,” said Deli Manager Modesta Espinoza, noting the store is open from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
What’s on the shelves depends on what has been delivered and as of now, “we have a lot on stock,” Espinoza said.
In Hood River, Farm Stand is running both its grocery section and deli — with to-go orders only. Co-owner Bethany Stelzer said that nothing much has changed, “except obviously we have a long list of sanitation precautions we’re talking,” she said.
Those precautions include hourly sanitizing of door handles and anything else people touch, such as bathroom and counter surfaces. “We’re washing between customers and following CDC guidelines,” she said.
Farm Stand is open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and on Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Stelzer said she wants to remind people to eat healthy during this time and that the deli is open for to-go orders. She has 10 deli employees and is offering curbside options; call the store at 541-386-4203 to place a to-go order.
“We’re hoping with that, we won’t have to lay anyone off; we’ll tighten our belt until this is over,” she said.
“I know a lot of cities are taking dramatic measures — like San Francisco, you see it snowballing, shutting down takeout,” she said. “I hope Hood River doesn’t go that route because every business doing takeout is a small family business trying not to lay off employees during this time.”
While delivery trucks are two to three days behind schedule, “the supply chain is solid,” Stelzer said.
Except maybe for toilet paper.
“We’re still getting deliveries and our distributors have it, but we don’t have any right now,” she said.
Mosier Market in Mosier is also running on the same schedule: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. One change: There is a station at the front door with wet wipes and sanitizer.
“Really, the only thing we’ve run out of is toilet paper — The Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020,” Owner Brenna Campbell joked. She was hoping to receive a delivery of toilet paper on Thursday and, should it come, planned to limit the amount people are able to buy.
“Be mindful of your neighbors,” she said. “We’ve got a little bit of everything down here and we’re keeping Mosier stocked so people don’t have to go out of town. For the most part, we can meet everyone’s needs.”
The store has some paper goods, as well as dairy and eggs, produce, frozen and canned goods and dry pasta and beans. “And we have lots of beer and wine,” she added.
The store is offering curbside delivery — call ahead and staff will put the order together, and will be able to take payment when the customer comes to pick it up.
Campbell said that she is grateful to the community of Mosier.
“Our community has been wonderful and very supportive, just verbally thankful for us being here,” she said. “We want to support locals as much as possible, and now it’s time for us to be here for them. We will do everything in our power to serve who needs to be served,” she said.
For curbside delivery, call 541-478-0180.