Few Grocery Store Employees Affected by COVID-19

Par Michel Thibault
Few Grocery Store Employees Affected by COVID-19
La distanciation sociale est de mise à l'épicerie, service essentiel. (Photo : Michel Thibault)

COVID-19 has affected few grocery store employees in the province according to an article published in the Journal de Montréal on May 19th. Our region has contributed to that positive result.

Translation courtesy Amanda Bennett

In an effort to be transparent, Metro and Sobeys provide daily updates on their websites regarding the number of COVID-19 cases in their establishments throughout the country.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Sobeys has informed of two employees who tested positive for the virus in April at the IGA Famille Roy location in Sainte-Martine. The chain has not listed any other case within the territory served by Le Soleil de Châteauguay. None of Metro’s stores have been affected.

After positive COVID-19 tests, the employees in question at the Sainte-Martine IGA stopped working on April 17th and 25th respectively. One has since recovered and the other’s recovery was well underway at the time that the interview with Anne-Hélène Lavoie, Sobeys spokesperson, took place on May 14th. “We take this very seriously. Our employees’ health is our priority,” she assured.

With the Public Health Directorate

Following the onset of employees’ symptoms, Sobeys collaborated with public health officials. We ask the affected employees to remain at home, we find out which department they worked in, with whom they may have come into contact. “Even whether they carpooled,” Ms. Lavoie explained. If need be, people who were in contact with the employees may be placed in quarantine. An outside company also completely disinfected the store, the spokesperson stated. Not all colleagues are tested. “Some stores have 150 employees, they don’t all cross paths. They work in different areas at different times. There has to be symptoms in order for a test to be done,” Anne-Hélène Lavoie mentioned.

Protective Measures

Gloves, visors, plexiglass in front of cashier stations, monitoring customer traffic to encourage social distancing and handwashing at the store entrance; food store merchants have adopted numerous protective measures to decrease risks in light of the coronavirus. Actions that we called for, stated a press release issued by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW Canada). They say they are “happy” to see major chains responding to their demands. 

The Challenge: The 2 Metres

Consumers also have a role to play in preventing the spread of the virus. Many had the habit of touching the bread, fruit and vegetables, observed Ms. Mme Lavoie. This no longer has its place. “Shop with your eyes,” she insists. “And there is a minimum distance to be maintained between two people, which is not always respected. The challenge is the 2 metres”, Anne-Hélène Lavoie noted.



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