After a winter and spring of sheltering-in-place, we were ecstatic to return to print sales once again. As case counts were dropping consistently in the community, we drafted and executed the following plan to equip our vendors with the tools and understanding necessary to work outside in the public again.
In order for vendors to return to selling on the street, they were required to complete a COVID-19 specific training. This orientation, conducted one-on-one with a GCN volunteer, reviewed guidelines from the Center of Disease Control and the Washtenaw County Health Department, recent executive orders in Michigan, tactics to reduce risk in the community, and how to successfully and safely sell papers during a pandemic.
At the close of the training, vendors were quizzed on crucial information and agreed to the new vendor code (COVID-19 specific additions in bold):
I will wear a mask at all times while selling Groundcover News.
I will use gloves, hand sanitizer or wash with soap to remove germs from my hands before selling and as needed.
I will stay 6 feet away from others.
I will only sell current issues of Groundcover.
I agree not to sell additional goods or products when selling the paper or to panhandle, including panhandling with only one paper.
I will wear and display my badge when selling papers and refrain from wearing it or other Groundcover gear when engaged in other activities.
I will only purchase the paper from Groundcover Staff and will not sell to or buy papers from other Groundcover vendors, especially vendors who have been suspended or terminated.
I agree to treat all customers, staff, and other vendors respectfully. I will not “hard sell,” threaten, harass or pressure customers, staff, or other vendors verbally or physically.
I will not sell Groundcover under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
I understand that I am not a legal employee of Groundcover but a contracted worker responsible for my own well-being and income.
I understand that my badge is property of Groundcover and will not deface it. I will present my badge when purchasing the papers.
I agree to stay off private property when selling Groundcover.
I understand to refrain from selling on public buses, federal property or stores unless there is permission from the owner.
I agree to stay at least one block away from another vendor in downtown areas. I will also abide by the Vendor corner policy.
I understand that Groundcover strives to be a paper that covers topics of homelessness and poverty while providing sources of income for the homeless. I will try to help in this effort and spread the word.
At the close of their training, vendors were each given a PPE package including GCN hand sanitizer, latex gloves, surface cleaner, paper towels, disposable masks, all courtesy of the Washtenaw County General Defense Committee. (in addition to a new badge, a “Please stay 6ft away” button, a GCN reusable mask, and starter papers!)
Maintaining safe practices
We still take routine temperatures of vendors and staff during our outdoor office hours, and provide free replacements and refills of masks, gloves, and hand sanitizer. Vendors are monitored randomly on the street and are suspended if found breaking the vendor code. If you would like to report, or praise your vendor for practicing safe sales, please use the contact form available on the Contact Us page.
We look forward to the day that all of our vendors will be able to return to selling Groundcover. We thank you for your patience and support as we continue to monitor and adjust our protocol for the safety of our staff, vendors, volunteers, and you.
Thanks for wearing a mask when buying Groundcover!