Vermont market closed by COVID reopens

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 4:56 PM EDT
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HINESBURG, Vt. (WCAX) - After being forced to close for a week due to COVID concerns, Lantman’s Market in Hinesburg has reopened.

Joan Hamel of Huntington is one of many frequent Lantman’s customers who returned Monday after having to pivot their grocery shopping for a week who has some questions about what exactly happened.

“It was very scary. We had come in and seeing all the employees wearing masks and we wondered why, and this came up and it was a shocker. We didn’t know what to do, if we should get tested or not,” Hamel said.

COVID-19 was at the forefront of the closure a week ago. In a statement to WCAX News, Manager Kyle Busier explained that employees were the ones impacted by COVID-19 and they closed to get everyone tested. Busier said: “While everyone’s symptoms differ, Lantman’s is very pleased to share that the vast majority of those affected had extremely mild symptoms. So mild that if employees were not tested most would not have known they were ill. This is why it was so important to close and have the staff tested prior to opening again.”

In the meantime, some regulars expressed worry about what was happening.

“I was concerned for the people who work here. They’re kinda friends of mine because we see each other at least every week,” said Lee Kauppila of Monkton.

Grocery store employees have been on the front lines of the pandemic since COVID-19 concerns began.

Erin Sigrist, the president of the Vermont Retail & Grocers Association, says that grocery stores throughout the state are monitoring COVID constantly, but there are no across-the-board guidelines on what to do when in a situation like Lantman’s.

“We don’t anticipate that there will be long-term shutdowns, we aren’t anticipating that there will be many shutdowns, but again, if the store owners or store managers feel it’s necessary to shut down to keep everyone safe, we may see that,” Sigrist said.

If you go in Lantman’s, you’ll notice that all the employees are wearing masks. And while it’s not required for customers to wear masks you’ll notice a lot of folks are wearing them there too. They’re recommended by the market due to the ever-changing nature of COVID-19.

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