Like most things these days, the quotidian act of going out for groceries suddenly feels like uncharted territory. Nowhere is this change more apparent than at the Park Slope Food Coop. Over its 47-year history, brownstone Brooklyn’s bastion of 1970s idealism has stayed remarkably resilient. But the coronavirus has shaken the community-minded store to its very foundation.
The most obvious change? The day after Governor Cuomo mandated that nonessential workers stay home, the co-op’s leadership suspended members’ mandatory work shifts for the first time ever, hiring 55 temporary employees to manage stocking, checkout, bulk-food packaging, and maintenance.
“We didn’t think the governor was suggesting that all of our 17,000 member workers were essential,” said Ann Herpel, one of the co-op’s general coordinators. “And it wasn’t safe to expose our staff to so many extra people throughout the day.”
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April 27 - May 10, 2020