An Update from Our CEO, Evan Sallee Regarding COVID-19
March 13, 2020
To our neighbors, customers, and business partners:
The COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging situation. Fair State is constantly evaluating how to navigate a path forward.
Our first guiding principle is that we will operate safely. If we determine that we cannot operate any aspect of our business safely, we will stop and solve the issue before going forward. Here are some of the initial steps we have taken:
- Our taproom staff will disinfect frequently touched surfaces more often while we are open.
- We have identified several ways to reduce and better control contact with used glassware that we can flexibly implement based on the volume of customers. These include modifying when, where, and how we collect used glassware; using disposable cups or cans; and altering some specific motions of Beertenders.
- We do not have any events planned that we believe will generate unusually large turnout. We will monitor our events closely to ensure that we will not overwhelm our space or our staff
- We are reconfiguring our taproom so that is conducive to guests maintaining the Minnesota Department of Health’s recommended social distance of 6 feet. We will have this in place beginning Saturday, along with signage to help guests understand why they may not be able to sit in their accustomed places.
- We will continue to introduce new beers and promote them, and we will continue to hold some regular programming. However, we are canceling the aspects of our programming that we believe would compromise our ability to accommodate social distancing.
- Employees who can work off-site have been directed to do so as much as possible until at least March 30.
- All employees have always had Paid Time Off beyond the legal minimums set by the Sick and Safe Time ordinances in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. We previously granted part-time employees the equivalent of 80 hours of PTO per year based on a standard 2,080-hour year. Part-time employees now accrue PTO at the same rate as full-time employees, equivalent to 160 hours of PTO.
- Tipped staff experience PTO as a deprivation because they do not collect tips during PTO. To mitigate this, we have raised the rate at which we pay our Beertenders PTO to $17.00 per hour.
Our second guiding principle is that the best use of our talents is serving our customers and building our community. As our customers’ needs and behaviors change, we will adapt our operations to match. As of today, we have not yet seen evidence of significant changes in consumer behavior (within our category). We believe that we will begin to see changes soon. Here are some of the steps we are taking to prepare:
- We are in contact with our customers at the wholesale and retail level to understand what changes in demand they expect and are seeing. We are adjusting our production to better match the demand profile.
- For our customers who are quarantining or exercising responsible social distancing, there are many accounts that offer delivery of alcohol. We are gathering their information so that we can post it on our website to help customers connect with these services.
- We are monitoring local news and taproom data to identify how our taproom customers may wish to engage with our space and services differently.
- We are evaluating how our membership community, particularly our members-only Facebook group, can be a source of practical, emotional, and social support in the weeks and months ahead.
We expect the situation to continue to change rapidly. We will continue to monitor reputable news sources, be in touch with colleagues, and respond to issues as they are identified.
We are extremely grateful for the business of our taproom guests and for the partnership of our wholesalers, accounts, and suppliers. Our cooperative spirit guides us through these challenging times. We are all in this together, and we will continue to support our community to the best of our ability.
Evan Sallee, Co-Founder and CEO