Information related to slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Message from Doug Thomas, BCS president & CEO

March 23, 2020

A massive THANK YOU to our dedicated employees, our loyal customers, the local, state and federal health care providers and officials, law enforcement and the entire Food Supply Cold Chain Industry that Bellingham Cold Storage is an integral part of.

Bellingham Cold Storage is first and foremost focused and devoted to maintaining as safe and sanitary a working environment as possible for our valued employees who are carrying out the critical job of ensuring that food supplies are replenished in the grocery stores both locally and across this great nation during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

To that end, BCS has implemented the following Center for Disease Control (CDC) Best Practice recommendations for reducing the likelihood of contracting and or spreading COVID-19:

1. Social Distancing by attempting at all times to maintain 6 feet between yourself and others.

2. Encouraging employees to wash hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds.

3. Providing dozens of boxes (hundreds of pairs) of disposable gloves.

4. Installing door openers that can be accomplished with the foot rather than with hands in bathrooms.

5. Installing signs at lunchrooms to maintain that they are for BCS employee use only.

6. Updating communications for truckers upon check-In to reduce touch multipliers.

7. Encouraging employees to liberally utilize sanitation wipes and hand sanitizers

8. Frequently wiping down hard surfaces like keyboards, bar code scanners, cell phones, etc.

9. Wiping down door knobs, hand railings, and frequently touched areas like counter tops and desks.

10. Conduct regular sanitization of work spaces using recommended cleaning agents.

In addition to the above CDC recommended Best Practices, Bellingham Cold Storage has implemented the following measures either over and above or earlier than required to ensure a heightened level of safety for our employees, customers, truckers, etc.:

11. Installing Porta-Potty restrooms for truck drivers to reduce the number of multipliers/touch opportunities for both the truck drivers and our employees.  (This was a great employee suggestion)

12. On Saturday March 21st, BCS began testing and implementing the process of utilizing Ozone for sanitizing work spaces, offices, lunch rooms, dock areas, etc.  Ozone is capable of neutralizing all mold, virus and germs from all surfaces even in the most hard to reach spaces.  We have a separate document that details the safety precautions and protocols that our engineering teams will be following to ensure employee safety when utilizing Ozone as a means of removing germs from the workplace at BCS.

13. Providing face masks (PPE Personal Protection Equipment) for those individuals who are in close proximity to each other as a necessity of completing the job.  Functions like loading containers with other employees is an example of this “close proximity job”. 

In addition, BCS learned late last week that the Federal Emergency Sick Paid Leave Act was passed by congress and signed by the president to offer an additional 80 hours of paid sick time to each BCS employee.  This additional paid sick time is to be offered no later than 14 days after its enactment HOWEVER, Bellingham Cold Storage has decided to make those illness hours available IMMEDIATELY effective Monday March 23rd.  These hours will be available in advance of utilizing any of your remaining BCS provided illness hours.

Last week President Trump, through the Department of Homeland Security, communicated the following message which details CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE INDUSTRIES.  As detailed below, BCS and our food harvesting and processing customers are very important contributors to the nations’ Food Supply Chain:

Information related to slowing the spread of COVID-19.
As detailed here, BCS and our food harvesting and processing customers are very important contributors to the nations’ Food Supply Chain.

The President’s request for our critical industry to maintain our normal work schedule is an honor.  BCS also understands that each employee may have several mixed emotions at this time.  On one hand we feel honored to be fulfilling the nourishment of millions of others, while on the other hand we may feel like we would rather be at home.  BCS employees may also feel fortunate to be working and receiving income necessary to keep our households functioning financially, while we are at the same time likely feeling stressed about what might happen or be required next.

To support both medical and emotional well-being BCS has both the free Orchard Medical Clinic for our employees and their immediate family members as well as an excellent Employee Assistance Program with quality counselors to discuss any uncertainties or worries that you may have as it relates to mental health.  We would encourage you to utilize this service which is both discreet and free of charge to any employee or their family member, 24/7.

To our valued customers, vendors, trucking companies and regulatory inspection agents that frequent our facilities every day I extend a huge THANK YOU!  We appreciate the cooperation and regular communication that everyone has been extending to ensure that we are keeping everyone as safe as possible.  We could not support our employees, the food supply chain or the nation without your partnerships.  Together we can and will get through these challenging times.

In closing, I would ask that everyone attempt to remain positive and fact based (resist the temptation to spread rumors) while carrying yourself with as much uplifting spirit as you can muster.  I am convinced that remaining positive and upbeat will carry us all through this temporary crisis more successfully than the alternative.  During uncertain times you can take back control of your disposition which will have a positive effect on everyone around you and that is a huge value that you can contribute.  And finally:

…Also highly contagious is kindness, patience, love, enthusiasm, and a positive attitude. Don’t wait to catch it from others…be the carrier!

Warm regards,

Douglas G. Thomas
President & CEO