Dig-In COVID-19 Update (20/03/2020)

Dear Dig-In community and shareholders,

The Dig-In Management Committee and staff have been in regular communication over the past few days to ensure we are taking all possible precautions to keep staff, volunteers and the community safe during the Covid-19 crisis. We are aware the situation is constantly in flux and, so are regularly checking government advice and are planning accordingly.  

Some key changes we have brought in (subject to change):

Please be mindful when visiting Dig-In and avoid buying in bulk wherever necessary, so we can ensure our whole community has access to food. We are limiting the purchase of wholefoods/grocery items to two items per person. This does not include individual fruit/veg items.

Additionally, as our shop is small and we are having a high visitor turnout we ask you to restrict numbers in the shop to only two customers at a time. Please wait outside until someone has left.

If you can, please pay by credit/debit card or with your supporters account. We want to minimise cash handling as far as possible.

If you have any symptoms, please do not come into the shop.

We are also aware that members of our community may be affected in different ways, so we are being flexible with our veg box scheme and are offering deliveries to those in need.

We want to reassure you that we are doing as much as we can in the circumstances. Priority areas:

1. Volunteers

We have communicated to volunteers that our primary concern is their health and safety and that they should not feel duty-bound to act at risk to their own physical or mental health well-being. Because of this, we may need to close intermittently or change our core opening hours to allow for regular breaks. Additionally, we have given guidance on what procedures to follow if they feel unwell. We anticipate a need for additional support so would ask anyone who wishes to offer voluntary help to fill in our volunteer application form on our website, so we can assess what support we may have should this need arise. 

2. Staff 

A plan has been written up to make sure we’re looking after staff in the event of sickness or self-isolation. Our current sick pay policy applies to all staff and allows for up to two weeks (pro-rata) of full pay before Statutory Sick Pay starts. If we have to close the business or operate on reduced hours, we will still pay all staff for their contracted hours. We are investigating government assistance available to support our staff team.

3. Training

We remain committed to ensuring that all staff and volunteers are kept in the loop with our plans and communications, and adequately trained to deal with the new measures we are operating within the business.

4. Stock 

Due to higher sales, we have streamlined some of our ranges to ensure we have adequate stock of some of our bestselling daily and pantry essentials. Please consider others and buy considerately.

5. Food handling

We have put in place additional daily hygiene practices to reduce food handling, and these will be reviewed on an ongoing basis. Currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with the transmission of the virus. All staff and volunteers now wear vinyl gloves when handling food or cash. We would appreciate your support in using our contactless payment system wherever possible. 

6. Suppliers 

We understand the increased demand for some of our suppliers and wish to help support and strengthen these local food supply networks, wherever possible. Therefore, despite our increased workload, we are committed to ensuring that our administrative procedures and supplier payments remain a priority.   

And finally…

As the situation is evolving, we are grateful to have built up reserves over the last couple of years to weather us through some storms and at the moment we are hopeful to not need any significant injections of cash to keep the business afloat. We will, however, be suspending share withdrawals at this time. 

We would like to give a big thank you (and a virtual hug) to our staff and volunteers for the very hard work they have contributed at Dig In over the past couple of weeks. The management committee acknowledges the additional risk that working to keep our community-owned enterprise open and stocked with food from our local and sustainable suppliers poses. We want to assure the community we are taking this very seriously and researching various options in which we can support reduced contact within the shop, whilst still serving the community, and supporting local food supply chains.

It is in difficult times like these when the community pulls together and local businesses can shine as examples for community resilience.  Owned by the community and run for the community: we hope to continue to supply you with groceries with respect for our community and with good humour. If you think you can help us on this journey please do help us by becoming a (shareholding) member of Dig-In  or registering your interest in volunteering, or both!

Dig-in Staff and Management Committee