Monday, February 26, 2024
February 26, 2024

Viewpoint: Store practices questioned

By A. WHITE

I was in Country Grocer for my every two weeks shop and was horrified to see that the staff were not wearing gloves or masks.

Young men were stocking the shelves, laughing and talking about the party they went to the night before, and girls were loading my groceries — not social distancing and not protected from each other or from me. They say it is okay, they wash their hands every half hour. In my opinion, that is not enough protection. I mentioned tourists and one person said, oh, they counted on them to do the right thing.

First of all, regarding tourists, whom we know are still not welcome, we have heard rumours of some even coming up from the U.S. saying they are en route to Alaska. Some of these people are from Florida and Texas, I might add, states that are hard hit by COVID-19. Salt Spring Island is not on the way to Alaska. As if these people are responsible . . . .

Second, every single thing we read about COVID-19 says the first wave of this virus is not over and that there will probably be a second wave. Just read the news coming out of the American states that have opened up too soon. I have to assume that the management of Country Grocer is ignoring the advice, based on science and statistics, to stay vigilant.

I have spent the last three months almost entirely alone because I do not want this virus, for obvious reasons. Now I feel threatened by the protocols at this grocery store. It does not make sense that they go through the business of sterilizing carts, counting the numbers who enter the store, keeping us six feet apart while waiting in line and protecting the cashiers with plexiglass (all excellent ideas) when our groceries are being handled without precautions. I know they say that washing hands is better than wearing gloves and I understand this is true if you wash constantly. They also say that the staff members are given the option to wear masks, can make their own decisions, but I don’t think this is good enough. Everything I read says masks, masks, masks. This is our fresh and boxed food they are handling.

Masks are a choice. They do not protect the wearer but they help save the wearer from transmitting the virus. Not wearing one assumes one is healthy, not asymptomatic or mildly ill and all alone. I absolutely disagree with the reasoning to not wear masks in a food store and the trust Country Grocer puts in their employees regarding this matter. Who knows if these staff members are well, they don’t know themselves, especially as they are obviously not social distancing, as I said.

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