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

Revelstoke Save-On-Foods compaign raised almost $2,000 for food bank

The grocery chain raised $300,000 for food banks across western Canada

Video: Revelstoke’s City Hall wrapped in plastic

Revelstoke’s City Hall is wrapped in plastic for the time being. The… Continue reading

Big Eddy bridge closed, RCMP appears to be searching river

Revelstoke RCMP and Search and Rescue are on Columbia River near the… Continue reading

QUIZ: Are you ready for a summer road trip?

How much do you really know about roads, motor vehicles and car culture? Take this quiz to find out.

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Wage subsidy will be extended until December amid post-COVID reopening: Trudeau

Trudeau said the extension will ‘give greater certainty and support to businesses’

Missing woman last seen in Lumby

Vernon North Okanagan RCMP seek public’s help in locating 32-year-old woman

Trudeau apologizes for not recusing himself from WE decision

He says his and his family’s longtime involvement with the WE organization should have kept him out of the discussions

Interior Health identifies more locations with COVID-19 exposure in Kelowna

Anyone who participated in events in the Kelowna downtown and waterfront area between June 25 and July 6 should monitor closely for symptoms

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Washington’s NFL team drops ‘Redskins’ name after 87 years

The franchise was given the name back in 1933, when it was still in Boston

Okanagan sisters-in-law sleep out successful

Kiley Routley and Heidi Routley raise nearly $2,400 and awareness for youth homelessness

Most Read