Tesco employee describes ‘absolute fear’ of colleagues as stores hit by multiple Covid cases

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An employee at supermarket giant Tesco said staff were scared after outbreaks in at least two department stores and a depot.
It is claimed that there are as many as 40 cases at the Tesco branch on Cowbridge Road in Bridgend, and there are also several cases at Tesco’s Magor depot. On Thursday we reported that there had also been a “number” of cases at the Pengam Green Extra site in Cardiff (you can read that story here).

And on Friday, we reported the concerns of an unnamed supermarket worker, who described feeling unsafe with customers breaking the rules, low morale, and staff removing the Track and Trace app to avoid of having to isolate yourself – you can read this story here. The Welsh government said on Friday it was now examining how security at supermarkets and other stores capable of remaining open could be improved with an announcement scheduled for early next week.

A worker claimed that Tesco’s Magor depot was “riddled” with coronavirus, saying there were more than 50 positive cases. But WalesOnline understands that the number of workers at the depot who have tested positive is less than 10, and the number of those self-isolating is less than 50.

And a staff member at the Bridgend store said there had been 40 confirmed cases among staff members since Christmas, with 140 workers in isolation at one point. Bridgend currently has the second highest coronavirus infection rate in Wales, with 894.3 cases per 100,000 population. You can see the rates across Wales here.

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The employee explained: “There have been at least 40 confirmed cases since Christmas and about a third of the workforce is isolating themselves because of contact with someone, or through follow-up and traceability.

The employee said the cases were “storewide in every department” and the home shopping department was hit hard: “There are people who work on home orders and customers who just walk away. next to them.

“The number of orders entering the [website] are just as much as before Christmas. There could be customers with coronavirus who handle the items in the store and hand them over, and then those same items are delivered to the people at home.

“There are so many customers in the store, it was only a matter of time. The store still employs people because the normal staff are dropping like flies. ”

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Describing the mood of the people working at the store, the employee added: “The staff are scared, absolutely scared.

“Due to the number of people in the store, Tesco has now reduced the number of people who can enter, but before Christmas there was no authority. People said they didn’t let their kids go to school because of the risk of Covid, but then went shopping with the whole family.

“We don’t stand a chance of social distancing, in-store customers don’t wander away from each other and workspace is limited anyway. Most clients wear masks, but most clients do not wear them correctly. .

“We’re all just scared and wondering who’s going to get it next. And if we catch it, who will we report it to. Unfortunately, we need our jobs, so we have no choice. ”

Tesco is not the only supermarket facing such problems. A Welsh Lidl store worker told a very similar story.

“I don’t just worry about myself, I worry about my coworkers,” the employee said.

“Customers don’t wear masks, so we’re the ones who are mistreated when we ask them to do so because they don’t wear exemption badges. There are marks on the floor, but no one is following them and there is no one at the door checking the numbers. It’s like a free for all.

“After 6 pm, we might as well be unlicensed. No one comes for essential purchases and they come as a group on a family day out. I have been working in supermarkets for over a decade, but looking to get out like I can’t get by anymore. ”

A Tesco spokeswoman said: “A number of colleagues at our distribution center Bridgend Extra and Magor are on sick leave due to Covid-19. Their close contacts have been informed.

“The safety of our colleagues, customers and suppliers remains our number one priority and we follow all government guidelines and work with local public health authorities.

“We have extensive measures in place in all of our stores and distribution centers to ensure the safety of everyone, including protective screens at each checkout, a signal light system at the entrance to our store for monitor numbers, social signage and regular cleaning. ”

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