Staff at food retail stores in Alexandra and Port Elizabeth contract Covid-19
Two Pick n Pay staff members at Alex Mall in Alexandra, north of Johannesburg, have tested positive for Covid-19 along with more staff at Woolworths and Shoprite in Port Elizabeth.
The head of communications at the mall in Alex, Gayle Crow, said the store was being “thoroughly sanitised” and all the necessary protocols and procedures were being followed.
“We have been in contact with the relevant senior management at Pick n Pay and would like to commend them for the swift, decisive action they have taken concerning the wellbeing of their staff and of the community that may have been affected.
“They have confirmed they will be screening, testing and, if necessary, isolating staff members who may have come into contact with those who have already tested positive,” Crow said.
She said the store was likely to reopen at midday on Monday.
“Alex Mall is open for trade and remains committed to stringent hygiene practices for both the mall and our shoppers.
“Strict queuing, physical distancing and hand washing protocols remain in place to protect our shoppers from potential exposure to Covid-19.”
Crow said in a bid to further protect the community, dedicated shopping hours had been set aside for the elderly, disabled and grant beneficiaries.
She said the company had also recently launched #MasksforGood.
“This initiative will see 26,000 reusable, washable medical cloth masks donated to our shoppers in a bid to protect those who need it most.”
HeraldLIVE reported on Monday that three workers at Port Elizabeth’s Access Park Woolworths food store and one employee at a Shoprite store in Humansdorp had contracted the virus.
Both stores were temporarily closed at the weekend.
The infections in the retail industry have raised concerns about the safety and prevention measures being implemented by management teams at the various stores, the publication reported.
National Health Laboratory Service head Dr Susan Louw said news of infections among supermarket staff was worrying.
“It comes at a time when we are hearing fresh evidence globally that the virus is being transmitted by people who are asymptomatic,” she said.
“The situation in big stores is obviously difficult and of great concern.
“There are more questions than answers, but what we do know is that we need to scale up testing so staff at outlets like this and people generally know their status and appropriate steps can be taken.”
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Unpacking SA's coronavirus numbers. Produced and edited by Luke Charter