Staff members at grocery and drug stores across Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley continue to be among those newly confirmed as being infected with coronavirus (COVID-19), including at one North Vancouver store with multiple team member cases.
Loblaw Companies Ltd, the parent company of Real Canadian Superstore, No Frills, and other local chains, provided updates to its COVID-19 employee case listings on March 10, 11, and 12, indicating cases among staff at eight of its stores across the province - all located within the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions.
Among the updated Loblaw-owned store case reports includes what is now being referred to broadly as "multiple team members" infected at the Real Canadian Superstore (333 Seymour Blvd) in North Vancouver. Initially reported March 9 as a single store worker case with a last day worked of March 5, the March 12 update no longer counts the number of cases from that store nor provides last days worked.
The following seven Loblaw-owned stores in Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley have new staff COVID-19 cases:
- Real Canadian Superstore, 14650 - 104th Avenue, Surrey: The last day the team member worked was on March 8.
- Real Canadian Superstore, 8195 - 120th Street, Delta: The last day each of the two team members worked was on February 27 and March 5.
- Shoppers Drug Mart, 3650 Mt Seymour Pkwy, North Vancouver: The last day the team member worked was on March 7.
- Shoppers Drug Mart, 20395 Lougheed Hwy, Unit 130 Maple Ridge: The last day the team member worked was on March 6.
- Real Canadian Superstore, 2855 Gladwin Road, Abbotsford: The last day the team member worked was on March 3.
- Real Canadian Superstore, 45779 Luckakuck Way, Chilliwack: The last day the team member worked was on March 7.
While T&T Supermarket is owned by Loblaw, the Canadian Asian grocery chain lists its COVID-19 cases separately on its own site.
On March 9, T&T's case tracker indicated a part-time associate from its Surrey store has tested positive for the virus and their last day worked was March 6. Now T&T is reporting a second case at that same location (#101T, 15277-100th Ave, Surrey). That infected part-time associate's last shift was on March 8.
Sobeys, Inc, the parent company of Safeway and franchisor of discount grocery chain FreshCo, has recently indicated on its case tracker that an employee working at one of its Metro Vancouver stores has tested positive for the virus. The affected store is as follows:
- Safeway - 800 McBride Boulevard, New Westminster: The last day the store employee worked was March 7.
‘I can't even imagine how we survived’: Vancouver grocery store worker reflects on a year of the COVID-19 pandemic
Moris Espiritu, store manager at an IGA location on West Broadway, spoke of the past year with a tired tone to his voice. A tiredness Espiritu couldn’t exactly describe but a feeling other frontline workers can surely relate to.
“I can't even explain it,” Espiritu said. “It is exhausting."
"When I look back a year before I can't even imagine how we survived in the grocery store," Espiritu added.
Over the past year, the pandemic has brought other challenges like ever-changing restrictions and health guidelines to adhere to. In dealing with so many people during the pandemic, Espiritu says the overarching emotion he has seen is stress.
"You can really feel the environment that everybody's stressed out, not just the customers but the staff. It's just the way it is," he said.
With files from Cameron Thomson