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Some businesses busy during coronavirus shutdown
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Some businesses busy during coronavirus shutdown

From the Coronavirus collection: March 22 through April 15 series
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Some companies are business as usual during the COVID-19 shutdown, or even busier, as demands for their services have increased.

Employers such as Price Chopper and Market 32 are even hiring in this climate.

Demand for cleaning services has increased.

“We’re busy,” said Matt Montesi, owner and president of North Country Janitorial on Dix Avenue in Glens Falls. “We go from the Canadian border to below Albany.”

The company counts among its clients Hudson Headwaters Health Network, Glens Falls Hospital and Saratoga Hospital. After an infectious patient has vacated a room, Montesi’s staff waits two hours then goes to work. His workers follow the standard of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for cleaning and disinfecting.

Montesi said the company is poised to respond, because he invested last year in a 2,500-square-foot training facility that simulates a real-life environment, including a medical facility and doctor’s office.

“We were ahead of the curve,” he said.

Other simulated environments include a classroom and a conference room.

Anybody who wants to work for him is put through rigorous training that includes various cleaning products use and how to use them. Montesi also has an on-site laundry, which does industrial and commercial cleaning.

Chief Operating Officer Chris Barden said many of their customers are based in health care or medical manufacturing, so they still have significant needs for cleaning and disinfecting. The company has stepped up its presence in these companies to disinfect high-touch surfaces.

The company, which has about 230 employees, has not had to bring more people in on response to the COVID-19 pandemic, because work has slowed down at other businesses, such as the hospitality sector.

“Our challenge right now is how to shift resources internally,” Barden said.

Supermarkets busy

As people have stripped toilet paper from shelves and meat from coolers, supermarkets are having difficulty keeping up with the increased demand.

Price Chopper and Market 32 are looking to hire 2,000 new part-time or temporary part-time workers for most of the chain’s locations. Golub Corp. spokeswoman Mona Golub said in addition to the demand, there has been a disruption in the lives of the company’s regular staff.

“Teammates needed for their schedules to be adjusted so they could be home with their families, and between that and the increased volume in our stores at this time as well, as the elevated sanitation protocols we’ve taken on, altogether presented an opportunity for us,” she said.

Applications will be taken online at: https://www.pricechopper.com/careers/. The company is expediting the hiring and training process so new hires can begin working almost immediately.

To guard against the spread of the virus, employees are wiping down high-contact surfaces during the day, including the check-writing stands, door handles, service case windows and lottery ticket machines, according to Golub.

The stores have reduced hours to make time for the extra cleanings.

“We’ve also hired professional crews to come in and comprehensively clean our stores at night,” she said.

Food deliveries

As people work from home, there is more demand for deliveries. In Schuylerville, 9 Miles East Farm runs a subscription meal delivery program that serves the Capital District.

“We have seen an increase in inquiries over the last couple of weeks as people are looking for safe, convenient ways to get healthy foods,” said Gordon Sacks, founder and CEO.

The farm has been operating for about 10 years and has historically provided prepared meals, according to Sacks. During this crisis, the business has added locally sourced eggs, vegetables and yogurt from Argyle Cheese Farm, so people can get their groceries delivered.

Sacks said the business has implemented safety procedures. The delivery person is wearing gloves and drops off a reusable cooler containing the meals. The worker picks up the previous week’s cooler and bleaches it out.

Because more people are using deliveries, Amazon announced recently it is hiring 100,000 new workers across the country. However, there are no plans to add any in Albany at this time, according to spokeswoman Katelyn Chesley.

Likewise, UPS spokeswoman Kim Krebs said the parcel service is not ramping up hiring, but only replacing positions lost to attrition, such as students graduating and moving on from part-time positions or retirements of full-time drivers.

Reach Michael Goot at 518-742-3320 or mgoot@poststar.com and follow his blog poststar.com/blogs/michael_goot/.

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