Taking temperatures, scheduled handwashing and masks: How a Winnipeg grocery store is responding to COVID-19

By | April 23, 2020

One of Winnipeg’s newest grocers is going above and beyond in efforts to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, including taking the temperatures of both its staff and customers. 

Before you can enter Seafood City — a Filipino supermarket chain which recently opened a location in the Garden City area — customers first have to have their temperature taken with a thermometer gun. 

Rowell Bernardo, operations head for the Canada division of Seafood City, said the supermarket wanted to do everything it could to give customers a safe shopping experience, and help its workers stay healthy.

“We really care about the community and we care about our customers, and especially we care about our employees,” he said. 

A sign informing customers that their temperature will be taken before entering Seafood City. (Submitted by Rowell Bernardo)

That means entry will be denied to anyone with a temperature above 38 C. That’s the temperature at which the Centres for Disease Control says someone is considered to have a fever — one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

The store is also taking the temperature of employees before they start their shift. 

In addition, the store has a new code to remind employees to practise safety measures. When employees hear the code “activate 88” announced over the store’s intercom, they have to change their gloves and wash their hands. (The code was chosen at random as something simple employees could quickly recognize.)

A handwashing station set up in the store. (Submitted by Rowell Bernardo)

“We are very thankful for all the employees,” said Bernardo. “These are the new heroes of our community during COVID 19.” 

Store employees started taking the temperature of all customers entering the store on Monday. So far, no one has been prohibited from entering because of a high temperature, Bernardo said. 

Handwashing and temperature-taking are just a couple of the things the store is doing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

It also has an employee roaming to remind customers to keep their distance, after managers noticed people weren’t paying attention to reminders over the intercom, Bernardo said. 

The store now has floor markings to encourage social distancing. (Submitted by Rowell Bernardo)

“There are times where … some customers are busy shopping, so basically they don’t really care about what they hear,” he said.  

Management is also providing masks for staff to wear during and after their shift is over, since many have to use public transportation on the way home. 

Employees can be seen wearing face masks while working behind protective shields at a cash register. (Submitted by Rowell Bernardo)

This is all on top of using the same precautions other businesses have taken such as limiting the number of people inside, and spraying down carts with disinfectant.

An employee sprays down baskets with disinfectant. (Submitted by Rowell Bernardo)

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