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Unprecedented kindness in unprecedented times

A huge thanks to all Manitobans who stepped up to support our concerns over safety and unmasked customers at grocery stores! We want all members be supported and feel safe at work and for the public’s help and that’s why we sent letters to retail employers and to Dr. Roussin and Minister Stefanson.

Please keep all workers in mind by following these simple tips in store:

  1. Wear a mask
  2. Social distance
  3. Be supportive

We’ve had so much positive feedback on our campaign to improve safety for retail workers by asking stores to implement a “no mask, no service” policy that we’ll be continuing to push this message. Follow along on our FacebookTwitter and Instagram platforms and like and share to get this message heard far and wide.

If you see an unmasked individual at a store, you can help by reporting it to the COVID tip line. You will be asked for the date, time, location and details of the issue when sending in your report, which can be anonymous. Calls to the tip line get messages out to COVID compliance officers in real time and someone should be dispatched to the location as soon as possible.

Want to take your advocacy to the next level? An email or call to your MLA or Public Health to express your concerns over safety protocol will also help our frontline workers.

Worker safety is our top priority and we thank all of you who have joined us. We will get through this together!

Over the last few days, we’ve received both negative and positive feedback on our efforts to improve safety in store for our members and customers. While we are not here to debate, we want to thank everyone who took the time to share their thoughts and share a few excerpts below from those who have gone above and beyond to try to make stores safer.

  • From an unnamed customer on their recent experience shopping at a store with an unmasked customer: “I filed a complaint with Loblaws. I called my MLA Heather Stephenson […] The manager was so offensive to me. They said they can’t ask if the person had an exemption. Rubbish. Here are the guidelines for exceptions to mask wearing: under the age of two, physically disabled and can’t manage to put on or take off mask, or a person who has trouble breathing. Even with exemptions – the stores should not run the risk of having these people enter. Help them with online / curb side pickup instead of risking the safety of others.”
  • “The cost of doing nothing is real on many levels. And so, if a lack of meaningful consequences is a root cause of the problem we’re facing, the most appropriate path forward appears to be to report the violation in detail via the provincial tip line, have the authorities monitor compliance and ensure there are consequences for violations at the store level.”
  • “I do believe it’s time to start using the COVID-19 tipline to notify the authorities that the grocery store chains are failing to enforce mask requirements on their premises. […] There are myriad regulations that apply to the production and processing of every product that sits on retail store shelves. These regulations are in place to ensure that the consumer has access to safe and healthy food and packaged goods. It would be unacceptable for any value stream participant to pick and choose the regulations that should apply to their role in the production, processing and marketing of products due to their personal beliefs or real or perceived costs associated with following the regulations. Retailers know that monitoring, testing and auditing is done at every stage of product production and processing and non-compliances are treated very seriously. 

    As a consumer, I have every right to expect that these rules and regulations will be enforced from production through to payment at the cash register. It’s the retailers responsibility to ensure their link in the chain is as safe as every other link. When the CFIA issues a product recall notice, I would expect the retailer wouldn’t look the other way. I and other concerned consumers expect that they won’t look the other way when it comes to other health and safety protocols at grocery stores. If $5,000 fines become standard for failing to enforce the mask mandate, perhaps we’ll see meaningful action.”
  • “As a grocery store shopper I have actually noticed that there are in many cases less safety measures now than when the pandemic began. As an example:  Safeway stores in Winnipeg renovated many of their stores recently. While knowing full well that there is a serious pandemic, Safeway failed (in my opinion) to include safety as a priority for their stores. Prior to renovations but at the beginning of the pandemic, the Safeway Customer service desks were against a wall and surrounded by a plexiglass wall barrier. NOW, in the renovated stores the Customer Service desk is on the sales floor fully open except for very small individual plexiglass pieces that do not provide any significant measurable safety in my observation.

    I have actually contacted Safeway myself and it is clear in my opinion that Safeway as a company does not consider Safety as a priority for staff or customers. Proper safety equipment and protection is not being implemented in their stores in my experience. I found that Safeway Head Office/Customer service tries to deflect the blame for lack of safety on the store managers instead of taking responsibility as a company. It is quite appalling. Even after expressing my concerns, the same inadequate safety measures can be seen in multiple Safeway stores. 

    I have been a  Safeway customer for many years. The lack of Safety at Safeway stores means I am now shopping there much less. I want to support the staff there by shopping at Safeway but how do I justify spending money at a company that does not seem to care. Safeway like many grocery stores have benefited substantially during the pandemic with increased shopping by the public. It is not as if grocery store companies cannot afford proper safety measures.Also, Safeway staff should not have to enforce mask wearing on their own without support from security/police or management. Their personal safety should not be put at risk.”
  • “Thank you, thank you , thank you for stepping up and  making employees HEALTH a TOP priority, especially at a time where Manitoba has ranked first in North America for covid cases.  No mask = No entry, this should be enforced, no discussion. Mr. Traeger, you are doing a great job, thank you!”
  • “I support mask wearing 100% in all indoor venues. […] I have written numerous emails to Dr. Roussin and Mr. Pallister about following protocols. It makes me sad that our case count is rising and workers are being abused by individuals who choose not to wear a mask. Those who flaunt the guidelines better pray that should they contract this virus there is room for them in a hospital and that the medical staff are prepared to look after them.”
  • This has been a long time coming! Every shift I have to tell someone(s) put a mask on. Stand back… this is more than exhausting! We are playing “roulette” with your health every day! Plus the “sneeze” guards don’t not cover where the customers are standing the closest to us! This has never been addressed!”
Choose to be kind. Show your appreciation for all workers by doing a few simple things: wear a mask, social distance and be supportive.

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