Union calls for cashless transactions after Liquor Mart employee tests positive for COVID-19

By | April 2, 2020

WINNIPEG — The union representing workers at Manitoba Liquor Marts is calling for plexiglass shields to be installed immediately at all stores and wants cashless transactions only, after a worker at the Garden City Square Liquor Mart contracted COVID-19.

“We’ve asked for plexiglass, we’ve asked for the floor spacing to be done and making sure that the cleaning equipment and everything that is needed is in every store as it’s needed,” said Manitoba Government and General Employees’ Union president Michelle Gawronsky. “We know that some of the stores don’t have the plexiglass. We are calling on MBLL (Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries) to ensure that this is put in immediately.”

“We also now are going one step further and we’re asking the employer now to make sure that all transactions are being done through credit card or through debit cards — no cash transactions, please.”

Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries confirmed Wednesday an employee tested positive for the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

MBLL said the employee last worked in the store on Saturday, March 28, and is now recovering at home in self-isolation.

It’s not known how they contracted the virus.

The store was closed for a deep clean, the Crown corporation said on Wednesday. A second store at Main Street and Pritchard Avenue also underwent additional cleaning as a precaution. MBLL said it’s because an employee at that location had been in contact with the worker who has tested positive for COVID-19.

MBLL said public health officials are investigating to determine who else, including customers and staff, the employee may have come into contact with to determine if anyone else needs to self-isolate.

MBLL is working with Air Miles to contact customers about the case.

Chief provincial public health officer Dr. Brent Roussin didn’t comment on the specifics of the case. When asked about it on Thursday he said the province hasn’t announced the location as a place where exposure may have occurred because the case is either still under investigation or because there’s no risk to the public.

“Public health will announce an exposure if there is a confirmed case that we thought there had been prolonged, close contact,” said Roussin. “It will depend on the investigation of the case, if there was a confirmed case, and it was thought to benefit the public to announce that than it would’ve been done.”

If you attended the Garden City Liquor Mart and are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms — fever, cough, runny nose, or sore throat — Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries said you should call Health Links at 204-788-8200 or 1-888-315-9257.

The Crown corporation has already implemented a number of measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including enhanced cleaning and physical distancing measures.

“We also continue to look for ways to make our environments safer for employees and customers, including the ongoing installation of plexiglass shields at the point of sale in all Liquor Marts,” it said in a statement posted on its website. “Plexiglass shields will begin to be installed at Winnipeg Liquor Marts the week of March 30 and continue until all stores are complete.”

People are being asked to pay with cash or debit but MGEU said cash transactions are still allowed.

MBLL said it can’t respond to CTV Winnipeg’s questions about COVID-19 — which included but weren’t limited to how many stores currently have plexiglass shields and whether it plans to switch to cashless transactions only — because it’s priority right now is messaging for staff and customers.

Liquor stores are permitted to stay open under a public health order which deems the stores an essential service. 

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