No entry with gloves on

Ronelle Blows, Coniston Park

I would like to speak about an experience I had at a store that was previously closed because of Covid-19.

Busy Corner butchery in Grassy Park refused me entry to the store if I didn’t take my gloves off. When asked where this ruling came from, no one knew.

I go to stores throughout my area where they sanitise my gloves as I enter. I do the same each time I leave the car and get back into it. I feel safer with my gloves on and keep them sanitised throughout my shopping trip and when I get home, I sanitise and discard them.

This I find is the problem we have at the moment. People are not realising the real threat of this virus. Even the person who spoke to me at the store (the manager) was wearing his mask incorrectly (over the mouth but the nose is open).

The cashier had no sanitiser at her till and she didn’t sanitise once while serving me. The only spot in the whole store I saw sanitiser was with the security guard.

I previously had TB, with severe lung damage and I make one essential trip as per the government’s requirements.

I choose to protect my body at any cost so that myself and my family do not need to deal with devastation this virus causes. It was the most unsafe trip to the shops I experienced to date and will never go in that store again.

Aslam Hassan, spokesperson of Busy Corner Butchery, responds

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and the World Health Organization (WHO), the official stance is that gloves are only recommended for use while decontaminating and sanitising your home, or when treating an infected patient or family member.

We discourage the wearing of gloves, as we cannot guarantee that the gloves are sanitary when entering our store. Remember, we’re responsible for not only our staff and customers, but also our families at home.

We do provide gloves at our entrance for anyone who wishes to wear them, due to various reasons, such as an allergy to sanitiser, or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. It is unfortunate that Ms Blows was not offered this option, and for this we apologise.

We also provide masks for those who may have inadvertently forgotten them, as we would not like them to be turned away from our door.

We strongly refute the statement that there is no sanitiser available in our Grassy Park store.

Apart from the security guard dispensing sanitiser, there is a dispensing stand close to the door, inside, as well as at numerous points throughout our store.

We have been using hand sanitiser, in addition to regular hand washing, as part of our health and safety protocols for more than 15 years.

We have a dedicated health and safety team, ensuring that procedures and protocols are followed across all our facilities. We have also, since the Covid-19 outbreak, been posting safety guidelines on our social media platforms, as the health and safety of our patrons and staff are of paramount importance to us.

As Ms Blows points out, our Grassy Park store was closed due to infected staff members.

After the first round of deep cleaning, on the first day of closure, which was a Friday, the Department of Health gave us permission to re-open. We declined to do so, and remained closed for the rest of the weekend to do repeated deep cleans, and sanitising procedures. Our desire to render our store safe, and ready to receive customers and staff overrode the need to trade over a weekend, our busiest time. So, as you can see, our commitment to fighting this pandemic cannot be called into doubt for a single moment.

Our apology to Ms Blows is therefore directed at the manner in which the incident was handled. We stand by our regulations and guidelines, and urge the general public to adhere to these, for their own safety.

You are most welcome to arrange a store visit to see the measures we have in place. Stay safe. Stay healthy.