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More Metro Vancouver grocery store employees test positive for COVID-19

Several more staff members at major grocery chains operating in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
Pictured: A Chalo FreshCo store in Ontario. Two B.C. Chalo FreshCo stores are reporting employee coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, according to parent company Sobeys Inc. Photo: @peelpolicemedia/Twitter

Several more staff members at major grocery chains operating in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). 

Sobeys, Inc, the parent company of FreshCo, has indicated that franchisee employees at two locations of their Chalo FreshCo stores have received positive COVID-19 test results. 

The following store locations are affected:

  • Chalo FreshCo, 100-32500 S Fraser Way, Abbotsford: The last day the employee worked was November 11.
  • Chalo FreshCo, 7165 138 Street, Surrey: The last day the employee worked was November 8.

Sobeys provides updates regarding employee test-positive cases in their stores via an online tracker. The company, which operates Safeway and Thrifty's stores, in addition to the FreshCo chain, says they do so in order to be transparent.

"Out of respect for our teammates and their confidentiality, we will never release any personal information about our people. We will always do everything we can to support our teammates and ensure their safety," adds Sobeys.

Not all grocery retailers share employee case updates

Sobeys and Loblaw Companies Ltd. are the two major grocery retailers operating in B.C. that publish employee COVID case information and store location details online.

Loblaw operates high-profile stores such as Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore, and No Frills.

On Nov. 17, Loblaw added two updates to their list of B.C. store cases

  • A team member at the Shoppers Drug Mart at 6060 Minoru Blvd in Richmond tested positive for the virus. The last day the team member worked was on November 7.    
  • Additionally, two more employees at the Real Canadian Superstore at 19851 Willowbrook Drive in Langley have now tested positive. The last days those team members were on the job were Nov. 9 and 13. Those new cases join those of their co-workers who had previously tested positive and had last worked on Nov. 6 and 10. 

Loblaw also says they share updates about test-positive COVID cases in their stores in order to maintain transparency.

"In these cases, we work closely with public health and follow their guidance to ensure proper notification of close contacts and required cleaning and sanitization in our stores," notes the company.

When there are employee virus cases, Loblaw notes: “Generally, the risk to our customers remains low, due to the physical distancing and sanitization measures that have been in place in our stores for months."

None of the above-mentioned stores are considered public exposure sites by Vancouver Coastal Health or Fraser Health.

Stores must have COVID-19 safety plans available for viewing

In B.C., a public health order issued this spring mandates having COVID-19 safety plans available for viewing by customers.

The May 14 order says businesses must “post a copy of your COVID-19 Safety Plan on your website, if you have one, and at your workplace so that it is readily available for review by workers, other persons who may attend at the workplace to provide services and members of the public.”

However, a Glacier Media investigation found that several stores in Vancouver and Burnaby were unable to produce those documents when requested. Some stores had their plan posted visibly, whereas others were able to hand over a physical copy when asked. 

Read more about the findings of the investigation HERE.

With files from Jeremy Hainsworth


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