Canada’s largest national grocery retailers have adopted highly similar measures to reduce consumer risks while shopping in store, but two chains post lists of stores where employees have been found with the COVID-19 virus.
Both Metro and Sobey’s web sites include detailed listings of their locations in which employees were found to have the virus, including dates the infected employees last worked. Both chains include retailers with common ownership but different brand names, such as Super C and Food Basics (Metro), and Safeway and IGA (Sobey’s).
In his March 23 entry on the Loblaws’ company sites, Executive Chairman Galen Weston outlined his firm’s steps when an employee is found to have the virus. This includes very similar steps outlined by Metro and Sobey’s: working with local health officials, immediate temporary closure while the store undergoes a “deep cleaning”, and re-opening after the cleaning while working with public health. But rather than making a public disclosure, Weston said his firm will “be completely transparent by communicating directly to customers who have recently shopped in the affected store. For example, in the current case, we have talked to all colleagues, posted a notice to local social media, and emailed thousands of individual customers who used their PC Optimum account in that particular location.”
Those three firms, along with Western Canada’s Save-On-Foods all outline very similar protections that include special shopping hours for seniors, reduced store hours, higher limits for contactless payments, restricting the number of shoppers in the store at any time, plexiglass barriers at checkout and not accepting returns on many purchases. Save-On’s site contains no disclosure of any stores where employees have reported infections, and reports that it will “notify any team members and customers whom the health authority deems may be at risk of exposure.”