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 remained closed to the public.
As of June 15th, we have re-opened our San Francisco store on an appointment-only basis, as permitted by the City of San Francisco. Read below to learn more about the protocol we have in place to ensure safety during the re-opening process, and how to book an appointment.
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, face shields, and gloves.
In-store Customer Safety Protocol
Our store is now open on an appointment-only basis. To ensure continued safety for our community, customers who visit in-person are required to abide by the following protocol:
- to maintain social distance, we allow a maximum of 2 customers inside our store at any given time;
- customers must wear a mask at all times while in our store;
- customers will have their temperature screened before entering our store, and only those presenting within a normal temperature range will be permitted inside;
- customers must sanitize their hands immediately upon entering our store;
- customers may NOT handle/open/smell our tea canisters or any other food items that we sell;
- we are NOT offering tea tastings of any kind at this time;
- we do not have change on hand, and are accepting cash in exact amounts only - otherwise, you may pay by credit/debit card;
- visits are limited to 30 minutes.
For the safety of our entire community, these measures are non-negotiable. Customers who are uncomfortable with or unable to abide by these measures may place their orders online for shipping or free Store Pickup.
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.
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 was unaffected this year and we have started receiving our 2020 spring crops. For the most up-to-date information on new crops, 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 email@example.com.
Continuity of Service
As of June 15th, we have re-opened our San Francisco store on an appointment-only basis, as permitted by the City of San Francisco. Call us at (415) 395-0868 to book a 30-minute visitation window, available Mon-Sat, 11am - 3pm. Appointments must be scheduled at least 2 hours in advance. Please note that we are NOT offering tea tastings of any kind at this time. Before visiting, please review the safety protocol we require customers to follow while at our shop, listed in the Enhanced Safety Measures section above.
We are continuing to fulfill orders here from our online store, and offer FREE shipping on all domestic orders over $50 - simply choose "Free Shipping" at checkout. 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 offer FREE Store Pickup at our San Francisco tasting room. To select Store 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 Store 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We wish you continued health, happy sipping, and a swift return to balance.
With warm regards,
The RBT Team