All of us at Ice Mountain share the global concerns of the public health impact of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the ever-evolving crisis in Michigan and take the necessary actions to help protect the health and safety of our people, customers and the communities where we operate.
As part of the food and grocery supply chain, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has determined that our extraordinary employees, who help keep store shelves stocked and deliver water directly to customers, are essential during this unprecedented time. We are grateful for our factory, distribution and retail sales teams who are working around the clock to produce, deliver and stock our water products for the Americans who are counting on us.
Protecting the Health and Safety of Our Employees and Our Customers
The health and safety of our people, customers and the communities where we operate, including in Michigan, is of the utmost importance to us. We are following the guidance from local public health experts, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) and have instituted further precautions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among other things, we have:
- Advised all of our employees to continue implementing everyday preventative actions that the CDC recommends, including frequent handwashing for at least 20 seconds and consulting a doctor immediately if they start to exhibit flu-like symptoms.
- Encouraged all employees to practice social distancing as much as possible, and employees who are able to do so to work from home.
- Provided additional hand sanitization stations throughout our facilities.
- Implemented additional disinfection of equipment at the beginning and end of each shift and breakroom tables throughout the day in our factories.
- Increased to 24-hour cleaning for our factories with chlorine- and alcohol-based solutions, which means someone is always onsite cleaning and disinfecting the factory.
- In our factories, we have converted meeting rooms into breakrooms and removed most chairs from each table to enable employees to spread out when eating lunch or taking a break.
- Staggered employee schedules to minimize interaction and have moved time clocks to be 20 feet apart to create social distance.
- Adjusted residential deliveries of our ReadyRefresh beverage delivery service to leave customer orders outside their door and identified a single drop-off location for bulk deliveries at commercial locations so that we can provide necessary water while minimizing unnecessary human contact.
- Temporarily suspended all residential ReadyRefresh Pro Clean Services for our water dispensers to help enable social distancing.
- Provided all drivers access to various sanitization supplies, such as hand sanitizer, soap and water solution, and gloves.
Supporting our Employees in this Challenging Time
As employees rise to the new challenges this crisis brings, we are providing extra support to make sure they are properly taken care of. Here’s how we’re supporting them:
- Guaranteeing 12 weeks of regular wages in the event of a full or partial facility closure.
- Paying eligible frontline employees an additional 12% of their earnings for at least 12 weeks.
- Providing additional time off without reducing sick or vacation balances if they are impacted by coronavirus.
- Expanded health benefits for telemedicine and prescription delivery, mental health care, childcare, and covering medically necessary testing for COVID-19 at no cost.
- Increased the number of Employee Assistance Program counseling visits during this period of time from 5 to 10 visits, free of charge to employees.
- Continuing to hire, train and support thousands of employees across our business.
Committed to Our Neighbors in Michigan
From emergency water relief for communities in need, to conservation initiatives, to educational opportunities, we do our best to support our neighbors where we live and work. The COVID-19 pandemic has been no exception. In response to this national emergency, Ice Mountain and Nestlé Waters North America have made efforts in Michigan and across the country. Below are a couple of examples, and more initiatives are underway.
- We’ve been providing bottled water to Flint since 2015, and have increased our donations in light of COVID-19. This crisis has kept certain at-risk groups from getting to the Help Centers to pick up water. So, we have been working with Flint Mayor Sheldon Neeley to deliver an incremental 90,000+ bottles over the course of four weeks to the City of Flint for distribution to its residents who cannot leave their homes.
- As part of the company’s national “blue bottle project,” Nestlé Waters donated 1,200 specially designed blue bottles to Cranker’s Restaurant and Brewery, which the brewery filled with hand sanitizer and donated to local medical facilities and food programs including Manna Pantry, Angels of Action, and the Isabella County Medical Care Facility. In addition to the donation to Cranker’s, Nestlé Waters has donated approximately 16,000 blue bottles to other distilleries making and distributing hand sanitizer, including the Michigrain Distillery in Lansing, Burl and Sprig Distillery in Muskegon, and Grand Traverse Distillery in Traverse City.
- After hearing that American Chemical Solutions (ACS), a Michigan chemical company, was in need of 6,000 gallons of distilled water to make hand sanitizer, we reached out to help. Following our donation, ACS made and shipped 275 gallons of hand sanitizer to Spectrum Health, which, in turn, has distributed the sanitizer to its network of hospitals throughout Western Michigan.
- To commemorate the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day, and to support the annual Mecosta Conservation plant sale fundraiser, Nestlé Waters purchased 2,500 White Pine seedlings. Originally the plan was for those seedlings to be donated to local organizations in support of spring cleanups, recycling and tree planting events. However, with the onset of the stay-at-home order brought about by COVID-19, all such events were canceled. Since then Nestlé Waters has worked closely with local community groups to find other ways to distribute the “State Tree” seedlings. Groups receiving the seedlings to date include the Muskegon River Watershed Assembly, Angels of Action, Evart Public Schools, and the City of Evart.
- In Evart, Nestlé Waters has donated 420 cases of water and 500 tree seedlings to the Evart School District’s weekly food distribution for students and their families.
- The Heat and Warmth Fund (THAW), which helps to provide access to water, gas, and electricity by assisting families with utility bill payments, is partnering with Focus: HOPE to support its Food for Seniors program and a new food program for families with children. Since the start of COVID-19, Focus: HOPE’s USDA Food for Seniors program has seen an increase of 1,650 seniors and Focus: HOPE formed a new food and snack package distribution program to help families with children struggling with food insecurity due to school closings. Through THAW, Nestlé Waters donated water to be distributed as part of these two food programs in Detroit. Approximately 918 food packages and 1,208 snack packages that have included water, cloth masks and milk have been distributed as of May 29, 2020.