Grocery store staff are fed up with “social” buyers who flout pandemic rules

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For 20 years, Joy Barreda worked as a bouncer in bars. Now she is a security guard at a Toronto grocery store, making sure people practice physical distance to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

She said people treat the grocery store like a bar – chatting and getting too close.

“Everyone wants to look over the shoulder and look at the products or take a look at the meats and we have to go, like,” Sorry, friends, remember six feet for safety. “,” Barreda told CBC News.

Politicians and health officials across the country have urged Canadians not to consider grocery shopping, an essential service, as a social activity, even if it is one of the few places where interaction social is even possible.

Now, grocery store workers are adding their voices to the call, asking shoppers to be as efficient as possible: don’t stop to chat, shop alone, and shop only once a week.

WATCH | Tips to make sure your food is safe:

The coronavirus can live for several days on certain surfaces, but experts say there is no reason to worry about the grocery you are bringing home. CBC News shows you how basic hygiene will protect you from your errands. 1:36

Dino Virgona, owner of Fiesta Farms in Toronto, said most of his customers are respectful and appreciative, but the hours have been long and he and his staff are tired. He said that people really had to stop shopping as a group.

“If someone comes with their spouse, or one of their children, or something like that,” it’s okay today, “we’ll tell them,” But next time, if you could do your shopping solo. “”

Many grocery stores have implemented security measures such as disinfecting their carts and installing Plexiglas as protective barriers in front of their cashiers and floor markers to separate customers when they are lining up to pay.

Employees say they were verbally abused

CBC News has also spoken to a number of grocery workers who say they have been verbally abused by angry, frustrated and impatient customers.

They say they were yelled at, insulted and accused of overreacting when they tried to enforce the physical distancing measures put in place by their employers.

They did not want their names published for fear of losing their jobs.

Shopping in a store can be a trying experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Grocery store workers say they don’t appreciate it when this impatience and frustration comes their way. (Carlos Osorio / Reuters)

The union representing grocery store workers in this country says its members should not tolerate bad behavior and encourages them to report their manager or union representative.

“I know that in the retail business we very often say:[The] the customer is number 1. They come first. But I don’t think that’s right then, “said Anouk Collet, executive assistant to the national president of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, which has 250,000 members across Canada, more than half of whom work in grocery stores. , including those owned by Loblaws, Sobeys and Metro.

The “reckless”

Nova Scotia Premier Stephen McNeil berated buyers on Sunday.

“I hear stories of grocery stores full of people,” he said during the province’s COVID-19 daily briefing.

He said if people go to the grocery store and the parking lot is full, they should find another place to shop.

“Little bit reckless, shame on you,” said the Prime Minister, noting that most Nova Scotians do their part to follow the rules of physical distance.

John Haggie, Minister of Health for Newfoundland and Labrador, on Monday called on the public to follow the purchasing guidelines.

“One person, one trip, each week,” said Haggie. “Do not take your children with you unless there really is no alternative, and please do not let them lick the handles of the basket. “

The safety measures put in place by employers are not only intended to protect clients and staff, but also their families and all others with whom they come into contact.

The recipient of a transplant pleads for safe purchases

Lisa Walsh of Antigonish, N.S., knows firsthand how important this is. She is a severely immunosuppressed transplant recipient who suffers from bronchitis, asthma and many other medical conditions.

Lisa Walsh, a severely immunocompromised transplant recipient, urges Canadians to shop alone and only when necessary. (Submitted by Lisa Walsh)

Her partner, mother, and stepmother all work in grocery stores, and she has a serious message for people who continue to shop.

“You could pass it on to me or an older person and never know if you could be responsible for the death of that person. “

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