Our Response to COVID-19 in Maine
All of us at Poland Spring share the global concerns of the public health impact of COVID-19. We continue to monitor the ever-evolving crisis in Maine 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 Maine, 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.
- 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 and PPE, such as hand sanitizer, soap and water solution, masks 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 Maine
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, Poland Spring and Nestlé Waters North America have continued to support the community in Maine and across the country.
- The Maine Tourism Relief Fund founded by Poland Spring and the Maine Tourism Association was recently created to provide grants to companies experiencing hardship from business closures due to COVID-19. We have committed to giving $100,000 to the fund, which will benefit small Maine businesses in the tourism industry and their employees.
- On April 9, NEWS CENTER Maine hosted an all-day telethon to support the United Way of Maine’s COVID RESPONSE FUND. We donated a $58,000 match, to help Mainers during this challenging time.
- In Maine, we developed a program that we have now instituted nationally, to help the public, front-line health workers, and first responders gain access to needed hand sanitizer. We are creating hundreds of thousands of special blue-tinted bottles to be filled with hand sanitizer that local distilleries and breweries have been making. From March 25 to April 17, 2020, we have donated over 165,000 bottles nationwide, 20,000 in Maine alone, with more donations being made every day.
- We are working with the Maine Emergency Management Agency and have begun water donations that are being distributed throughout the state to those who need it most.
- Since the week of March 23, our Hollis, Kingfield and Poland factories have been supporting local restaurants and our employees by purchasing lunches from local restaurants for factory employees.