*UPDATED AS OF MARCH 25, 2020
In light of growing concerns over COVID-19, we wanted to update you on what Thistle is doing to keep our community healthy and safe.
Our responsibility is to protect the health and well-being of our customers, employees, and partners, as well as to support the efforts of health officials and government leaders to contain COVID-19. Accordingly we have and will continue to take proactive, preventative measures to protect against exposure guided by science-backed information and official guidance from the CDC, State Department, and local authorities.
According to the CDC, while there is currently no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 through food, the most important thing we can do is re-emphasize proper hygiene, good manufacturing practices, and sanitation protocols in line with our existing practices that prioritize food and employee safety.
Existing safety protocols already in place
We have a dedicated and highly-experienced Food Safety team focused on ensuring that all aspects of our operations follow the highest levels of health and hygiene protocols to minimize risks.
- All of our production employees are ServSafe certified, meaning they’ve undergone food safety training administered by the National Restaurant Association that covers good manufacturing practices (including personal hygiene, cleanliness of equipment, workspaces, and packaging), hazards, sanitation, prevention of cross contamination, and, most importantly, prevention of communicable diseases at work.
- Employees wear multiple layers of protective equipment to protect food from contamination during preparation and packaging.
- We’ve executed mandatory refresher trainings around COVID-19 prevention at home and at the workplace that reiterate proper hand washing technique, employee hygiene, sanitation, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth, proper use of personal protective equipment when handling food products, proper sanitation of equipment and our preparation environment, social distancing, not coming to work sick, and following proper reporting protocols.
- **NEW** We’re taking additional measures to maximize social distancing in our facilities, including fewer people per shift and more shifts around the clock. Due to these changes you may see some minor tweaks to meals, but they will be as delicious as ever.
- We go beyond industry standards to provide all of our employees (including culinary and plate employees, packers, drivers, and stewards) with paid vacation and paid sick leave so that they feel supported in taking the time they need to get better.
Additionally, we've added new protocols as extra precautions to keep our employees and customers safe.
Our new protocols
- Drivers will be following the practice of “no contact” deliveries beginning the week of 3/15 for both attended and unattended deliveries. For attended deliveries, drivers will drop off bags but step back six feet in order to keep within guidelines of social distancing while waiting for customers to retrieve their items.
- Increased cleaning and sanitation schedules of highly trafficked areas and high touch surfaces in production facilities, offices, and in delivery vehicles.
- A remote work policy for all employees whose jobs permit it. A key outcome we’re trying to achieve is the protection of our community and the flattening of the infection curve—effectively, shifting the rate at which people are going to need medical care via social distancing.
- We’re asking employees to report any travel in the last two weeks to department managers to determine appropriate next steps, including self quarantine. All business-related travel and conference attendances have been canceled, and we’re asking the team to reconsider personal travel abroad in line with new State Department advisory alerts.
- Non-essential visitors are no longer permitted in the office or production facilities, and essential visitors will undergo screening questions before admission.
New Menu Considerations
- **NEW** Beginning on Monday, 3/30, smoothies will be removed from our menu through at least 4/20. Though the CDC and FDA find no evidence linking the transmission of COVID-19 to food, many of you have requested more breakfast meals that can be reheated at home. Going forward, every single item on our breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus now meets this criteria—this now includes all breakfasts and even lunch salads!
New bag & ice-pack policies
- **NEW** Effective as of 3/17, we’re temporarily suspending all bag and ice-pack pick up. Since the Bay Area’s shelter-in-place order, our drivers have given us feedback about what would make them feel safest, and we’ve listened. We apologize for the temporary inconvenience this may cause, and ask for you to hold on to these items until we’re able to resume our pickup program. You may also dispose of bags and recycle ice packs (no fee for doing so).
What else can you do?
- As a reminder, before preparing or eating any meal, practice hand washing with soap for 20 seconds before consuming.
- If you want to update your delivery instructions for us to leave your meals unattended, please do so by following these instructions or reach out to email@example.com. No action is necessary for no-contact, attended deliveries.
Other miscellaneous questions
- Many of you have asked about stocking up on meals and freezing them: our frozen soups are the perfect add-on item for freezer storage, and our dinners can also be frozen for 3-4 weeks!
- Some of you have also asked if you can heat our meals: the answer is yes! (This includes our salads, which taste great heated up in a skillet with a splash of olive oil just like dinners)
How to update your delivery preferences
- Sign into your account and navigate to Account Details. Scroll down to Delivery Details and click Change. Click the green EDIT button.
- Make the relevant updates to your delivery preferences. (Don’t forget to click save!)
The health and wellness of our community is paramount. We will continue to monitor the spread of the coronavirus and official guidance from the CDC and government officials. We will keep you updated as the situation evolves.
We are here to support you and hope to help alleviate some stress during these difficult times by continuing to deliver our nutritious meals to keep you and your family safe and healthy. We are privileged and humbled by your continued support of our company, our employees, and our mission to improve the health of our population and our planet.