During this unprecedented time, safety remains our foremost priority. Since the earliest cases of COVID-19 in the United States, Red Blossom has taken proactive measures to ensure the continued health of our staff and customers, and the safety of our products.
Timeline of Our Response
In late February, with the first report of a community-transmitted case of COVID-19 in California, we elected to close our San Francisco retail shop and tasting room to the general public, switching to an appointment-only model. We took this step as a proactive measure (weeks before the issuance of local and statewide shelter-in-place orders) to maintain a healthy and food-safe environment for our staff and our teas. In the following days, we further limited physical traffic to our store, and by early March had fully transitioned our business to online-only. On May 8th, we launched Doorside Pickup, providing more flexibility for our local customers; our store remains closed to the public.
Enhanced Safety Measures
Since initiating our response to the pandemic, we have implemented enhanced safety measures in addition to our standard food safety protocol to protect our staff and customers. We sanitize our store daily, and limit the number of staff allowed on site at any given time to promote social distancing. Staff are only permitted to work as long as they are healthy, and during their time on site are required to wash their hands frequently and wear protective equipment, including face masks, shoe coverings, and gloves.
Impact on Tea — Harvests, Importing, & Food Safety
We frequently receive questions regarding how the pandemic has impacted tea production in China and Taiwan, and if the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) presents any food safety concerns with regards to tea. Other than Our Finest Dragonwell, 2020 (which we received on May 4th), all of our currently available teas are from the 2019 harvests, which occurred prior to mid-November last year and were imported before the appearance of the novel coronavirus in China.
The tea regions which supply our teas are far from large metropolitan areas and the major epicenters of the outbreak in China and Taiwan, and have thankfully been spared the worst of the pandemic. In general, tea production remains uninterrupted and we look forward to receiving our 2020 spring crops. Unfortunately, the pandemic has disrupted our ability to import these teas according to our usual schedule; we now anticipate the arrival of these crops no earlier than June, subject to further developments. For the most up-to-date information, please sign up for our newsletter.
Ensuring the health of our customers through the food safety of our teas has always been our top priority; this is why we voluntarily submit our new crops to SGS Food Labs each year for third-party screening of pesticides, heavy metals, and chemical residues. Based on available science regarding the surface stability of SARS-CoV-2, there is no reason to suspect an impact on the food safety of 2020 tea crops. If you have any concerns or questions regarding this or other issues, we are happy to answer them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Continuity of Service
While our San Francisco tasting room remains closed to the public during this crisis, we are continuing to fulfill orders here from our online store, and offer FREE USPS shipping on all domestic orders over $50 - simply choose "Free USPS Delivery" at checkout.
We also offer FREE Doorside Pickup at our San Francisco tasting room. To select Doorside Pickup, simply choose the "Pick up" tab in the "Information" section at checkout, or click "Change" next to your shipping method to edit. Unfortunately, we are unable to offer Doorside Pickup through Apple Pay; you must checkout manually to use this option. Once you are notified that your order is ready for pickup, stop by our tasting room Mon-Sat, 11-5 and show your confirmation email and a photo ID to receive your order. Note that customers are not permitted inside our store at this time.
Due to our intentionally limited staffing, as well as the pandemic's impact on the mail service, we ask that you anticipate some delay in the fulfillment of your orders.
We are deeply grateful for the kindness and support you have given us throughout this crisis; knowing that our teas are helping to restore a sense of comfort and normalcy for you during these difficult times is our motivation each day. Should you have any questions, please reach out to us at email@example.com. We wish you continued health, happy sipping, and a swift return to balance.
With warm regards,
The RBT Team