COVID-19 closes North Okanagan convenience store

Co-Op stations still pumping fuel, but doors closed in store

Jeff Payne doesn’t want to see Canada end up like Italy.

Therefore the Armstrong Regional Co-Op general manager has made a tough, yet community conscious decision to close the convenience stores. The Vernon, Armstrong and Salmon store fronts will be closed, but the gas stations remain open and there will be staff on site at all times.

“Thinking about who we are and the fact we are a community based organization we just didn’t want to be giving our community any pandemic diseases,” said Payne, of the closure that came into effect Tuesday, March 24. “It was a matter of, ‘hey, we better get ahead of this thing.’”

It was not an easy decision, considering 60-70 per cent of Co-Op’s profit margin comes from inside the store.

“But I have to protect my customers, I have to protect my staff,” said Payne, noting that the store is also where all the face-to-face interaction takes place.

Meanwhile, the Co-Op has boosted sanitizing by cleaning pumps in an effort to help stop the spread.

“We’re doing it about 20-30 times a day. You can’t get it all, but we’re doing what we can.”

It’s a drastic change considering pumps were cleaned once a day prior to the pandemic, and about 10 years ago Payne said they might get cleaned once a month, with soap and water and not the disinfectant that is being used today.

Although customers can’t get goodies in the store, they are being treated to fuel prices below $1.

Gas prices in Vernon dropped below a loonie this week and continued to slide down to 92.9.

The reason, according to Payne: “Demand dropped, supply increased, it’s a standard model.”

And although he wishes he could predict gas prices (then he’d be retired), Payne guesses they may continue to drop even further.

“My gut feeling is there is some room for downward movement but I don’t know for sure.”

It’s the first time in at least the last 10 years that he remembers gas being below a dollar. Although he does remember a time when it was even cheaper.

“When I started here in 2002 it was 67 cents at the pumps.”

READ MORE: Vernon pumps dip below $1

READ MORE: Armstrong IPE still on, for now


@VernonNews
jennifer@vernonmorningstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

CoronavirusGas prices

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

COVID-19: More infected passengers on planes flying to and from Okanagan and Kamloops airports

The BC Centre of Disease Control has identified numerous flights with COVID-19 cases

Land once belonged to Grand Chief Nicola

Summerland was once known as Nicola Prairie

B.C. firefighters only responding to most life-threatening calls during COVID-19 pandemic

The directive comes after province spoke with paramedics, fire services, according to top doctor

WATCH: North Okanagan seniors stay fit in self-isolation

Residents have taken to their balconies to follow along in exercise class

‘An extra $220 every 90 days’: B.C. patients pay more dispensing fees due to prescription limits

Kelowna woman says it’s outrageous to charge for refills every 30 days

Education, not enforcement: B.C. bylaw officers keeping a watch on physical distancing

A kind word, it turns out, has usually been all people need to hear

Canadian cadets to mark 103rd anniversary of Vimy Ridge April 9 virtually

Idea of Captain Billie Sheridan in Williams Lake, B.C. who wondered what to do in times of COVID-19

Okanagan nordic centre loses out on 2021 nationals

Sovereign Lake near Vernon was to host 2020 Canadian championships, canceled due to COVID-19

Emergency aid portal opens Monday, cash could be in bank accounts by end of week: Trudeau

Emergency benefit will provide $2,000 a month for those who have lost their income due to COVID-19

COVID-19: North Okanagan spring leagues wiped out

Ladies softball, indoor and beach volleyball leagues shut down over pandemic

COVID-19: Interior Crisis Line calls increase

Calls directly related to pandemic up 25 per cent over final two weeks of March

QUIZ: How much do you know about hockey?

Take this test and find out how well you know Canada’s most popular winter sport

Researchers look at humidity as a weapon in the fight against airborne viruses

Regular hand washing, physical distancing and PPE for health care workers remains best line of defense

Most Read