Pandemic Updates
ECCO Food Pantry
July 9, 2021
Don Squires

Dear ECCO Volunteers, Partners, and Clients,

On May 24th, I sent a memo regarding ECCO’s COVID protocols at both our main campus and at our satellite location on Bowman Road. At that time, I explained that our protocols related to the wearing of masks would not be changing because ECCO has both a medical and dental clinic on-site. I also asked for your continued cooperation until “the day when we can all stop wearing masks, reopen our facilities to the public, and takedown signage asking clients to Pull Up, Mask Up, and ID Up.”

Since the start of the pandemic, ECCO has based our organizational protocols on CDC recommendations while closely monitoring the work of our local partner MUSC. Doing so has allowed ECCO to stay open without closing throughout the unchartered waters of a pandemic. This week, we learned that MUSC Healthcare has made “significant updates” to their pandemic protocols surrounding the wearing of masks. This has prompted ECCO to do the same. Below, please find ECCO’s updated COVID Policies modeled after those of MUSC Healthcare. These new policies will go into effect immediately:

  • Masks are strongly recommended but not required for fully vaccinated individuals (i.e. staff members, volunteers, guests including clients and donors, and vendors) or those with a history of prior COVID-19 infection working both inside and outside of ECCO’s two facilities.
  • Masks are still required of the following groups:
    • All patients receiving care in ECCO’s medical and dental clinics;
    • All persons providing patient care in ECCO’s medical and dental clinics;
    • Unvaccinated or partially vaccinated individuals (i.e. staff members, volunteers, guests including clients and donors, and vendors) or those without a history of prior COVID-19 infection working inside of either ECCO facility; and
    • Unvaccinated and partially vaccinated individuals working outside of ECCO’s two facilities (i.e. the Drive-thru lane, Farmers Market, and Clothing donations line) when working in close proximity to others.

Additionally, ECCO has amended our Travel Policy to read:

  • All ECCO staff and volunteers who travel internationally are asked to follow the CDC Guidelines and Recommendations for International Travel and not return to ECCO until you have had a negative test. Read the full policy.

We strongly encourage each individual to carefully consider your own health situation and that of your family when determining if you will continue to wear a mask while at ECCO, regardless of being vaccinated.

Getting vaccinated or choosing not to be vaccinated is a personal decision. In accordance with our core values, we must respect each individual’s right to make the choice they think is best for themselves. We must also trust that all of Team ECCO will respect and abide by the workplace guidance outlined above. These policies are based on what I believe is right for ECCO at this time. My goal is to ensure ECCO continues to be the second safest place we can be while continuing to serve our neighbors in their time of need.

Because safety and sustainability continue to be our top priorities, ECCO will continue to do the following:

  • Maintain and monitor posted occupancy levels in all areas of the two facilities in order to avoid large gatherings of people.
  • Encourage social distancing and regular hand-washing. Hand sanitizer will be readily available throughout the two facilities.
  • Provide items that help make individuals feel more comfortable in both facilities. Air purifiers have been ordered for the main lobby, all conference rooms, the Medical Clinic lobby, and the Clothing Closet.
  • Remind individuals not to come into either of the ECCO facilities if they are not feeling well or have been exposed to someone who is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms. Temperature checks for staff, volunteers, and guests will continue to be voluntary, except for healthcare providers and patients being seen in the Medical and Dental Clinics (based on the clinics’ current COVID screening and intake processes).
  • Update signage at both facilities to reflect current policies.
  • Ask each shift of volunteers to sanitize their workstations before leaving. Assign one staff member per day to serve as the common area cleaner for the Six Mile Road facility. Crates of cleaning supplies will be available in all common areas of our main building and at our satellite location.
  • Monitor the advice of the CDC and federal, state, & local officials and partners. Adjust ECCO policies and procedures as needed.

Thank you for your attention to this memo and your continued commitment to ECCO’s mission.

I am forever grateful to all those who are a part of ensuring ECCO’s legacy in the community,

Stephanie M. Kelley
Executive Director