A group of Hout Bay residents have formed a campaign called Profit Before Lives. The group believes that the local Checkers has not been complying with the strict guidelines set out for decontamination and sanitisation after a COVID-19 case was reported among its staff.

The store is currently closed with no confirmed date for reopening.

“I would like to appeal to you to support the campaign of Profit Before Lives,” member Roscoe Jacobs wrote in a Facebook post. “The aim of this campaign is to ensure that businesses in our community comply with the lockdown regulations and in doing so, mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Hout Bay which has been identified as a hotspot.”

According to the group, Checkers Hout Bay has been “exposed for failing to comply”.

“It seems the Shoprite/Checkers Retail Company is guilty of this, as reports of staff members passing away is a regular occurrence in stores across the Cape,” Jacobs said.

In a statement, the Shoprite Group confirmed that Checkers Hout Bay was closed on May 2 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

“A professional decontamination company was brought in to sanitise and deep clean the store and those who had close contact with the person who tested positively are required to self-quarantine for 14 days,” the statement said. “We work closely with all the authorities and the store subsequently reopened on May 6 in consultation with the Provincial Department of Health.”

“The store has since had to temporarily close on occasion for short periods of time to resolve internal employee-related matters. It has closed again and there is no confirmed date for reopening.”

According to the Group, it could not tell Cape Town Etc how many employees have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since lockdown was first instated on March 26.

“It appeals to all to understand and respect patient confidentiality governed by law. Confirmed cases are reported on by the authorities,” it said. “The well-being and health of our employees and customers remain our top priority and we will continue to do whatever is within our power to safeguard them.”

The Group added that it has a number of safety and sanitation measures it complies with when a positive case is reported at any of its stores. These include, among others, the following:

– Carrying out actions are directed by the guidelines and advisory updates provided by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) and continuously consulting with the Department of Health.

Various measures have been implemented including daily temperature testing when employees arrive at work; dispatching mobile clinics for referrals; rolling out plastic face shields to employees; and maintaining stringent hygiene and sanitising protocols across all operations.

– The importance of strict hygiene and hand-washing procedures, as well as the clean-as-you-go principle (where surfaces are constantly cleaned and disinfected whilst working) are reinforced with all store personnel.

– Employees are trained to follow good personal hygiene and product handling practices which have been in place since before the Coronavirus outbreak. This is monitored through regular independent audits.

– Proactive screening has assisted the Group to identify possible cases through early detection.

– Checking the temperature of each and every employee upon arrival at work.

– Employees of merchandising, security and cleaning companies also undergo temperature checking.

– Anybody with a temperature higher than 37.5°C is immediately referred to one of the Group’s mobile clinics for further consultation. Where a mobile clinic isn’t available close by, employees are referred to the nearest clinic.

Picture: Derrick Matroos/Google Images

Article written by

Lucinda Dordley

Lucinda is a hard news writer who occasionally dabbles in lifestyle writing, and recent journalism graduate. She is a proud intersectional feminist, and is passionate about actively creating a world which is free of discrimination and inequality.