Liquor Mart employees’ union pushes for Plexiglas shields after worker tests positive for COVID-19

By | April 2, 2020

The union representing about 1,300 Liquor Mart workers wants Plexiglas shields installed at stores to protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The call from the MGEU comes after an employee at the Garden City Liquor Mart tested positive for COVID-19.

It’s not known how the employee got the virus but the union says the store did not have Plexiglas shields installed. The employee was in close contact with another person who works at the Main & Pritchard Liquor Mart.

MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky said the union has been calling for the protective glass to be installed since the pandemic started.

‘These are people’s lives’

“I understand that everything takes time but these are peoples’ lives, and we’ve worked well with MBLL in the past and I know that they aren’t, they don’t make all of the decisions, they’re not always all the final decisions but they do need to get on this.”

MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky said the union has been calling for the protective glass to be installed since the pandemic started. (CBC)

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries said in a statement posted on its website that it has been diligent in implementing preventative measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The statement says that includes enhanced cleaning and social distancing measures.

“We also continue to look for ways to make our environments safer for employees and customers, including the ongoing installation of [Plexiglas] shields,” the statement said.

The Crown corporation has not said how many customers and workers it believes were potentially exposed as a result of close contact with the worker, and has not answered questions from CBC sent Thursday morning.

Customers panic buying

Liquor and Lotteries said in its statement the employee last worked in the store on Saturday, March 28. It didn’t provide details about other shifts the employee worked but said it will be reaching out to customers who shopped in store to ensure they are aware of the developing situation.

Gawronsky is also calling for Liquor and Lotteries to stop accepting cash from customers and instead accept only debit or credit cards to avoid possible transmission.

She said it’s not yet known how the worker contracted COVID-19, but said workers are worried they could get sick from a customer who has the coronavirus.

“It is a major concern on how it is being transmitted.”

Gawronsky added Liquor Mart locations have been busier than normal in recent weeks due to panic buying. 

The doors were shut at the Garden City Liquor Mart Wednesday night while it was being cleaned. (Tyson Koschik/CBC)

“From what I’m hearing from our membership, the first few weeks were crazy. I guess people were scared and thinking the liquor stores were going to close down.”

Manitoba’s chief public health officer Brent Roussin was asked Thursday why health officials didn’t alert the public about the employee. The case only came to light Wednesday evening when Liquor and Lotteries posted a statement after CBC asked the corporation about it. 

“So public health will announce an exposure if there is a confirmed case that we thought there had been prolonged close contact with, and so it will depend on the investigation of the case,” Roussin said. “If there was a confirmed case then and it was thought to benefit the public to announce that then it would have been done.”

Latest local news:

View original article here Source