Liquor Mart worker tests positive for virus
MGEU President Michelle Gawronsky speaking with CBC re Liquor Store safety measures
Apr 03, 2020
On Wednesday, it was confirmed that an MGEU member who works at the Garden City Square Liquor Mart tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
Once the employer, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries (MBLL) had that information, the store was closed for a deep clean and disinfection, along with a second store at Main Street and Pritchard Avenue as a precaution, because another worker at that location had been in contact with the worker who tested positive.
“We asked for plexiglass in all the stores, for the floor spacing to be done, and for assurances that the other necessary disinfection and safety supplies are available, and we’re happy to see that these things are happening” said MGEU President, Michelle Gawronsky. “The employer is telling us that plexiglass should be in all the stores across Manitoba in the next few days.”
“We also now are going one step further by asking the employer to make sure that all transactions are done only through credit or debit cards — no cash transactions should be permitted at this time.”
Some of the other requests that MGEU has made of the MBLL include:
- Not allowing sick customers (exhibiting cold/flu symptoms) inside stores
- Paying workers for scheduled shifts that are cancelled due to store closures caused by COVID-19
- Providing hero or hazard pay for frontline workers
- Providing workers with employer ‘top up’ of salary on EI Benefits and CERB for anyone laid off
The MGEU has been working with the MBLL on increased safety measures since the pandemic was called in Manitoba. The following safety measures are being implemented:
- Installing plexiglass shields across the province
- Reducing the workers’ exposure to customers (product will be scanned through glass and customers will bag their own products)
- Reducing the number of customers allowed in store and vestibule at one time (determined by square footage of store)
- Limiting the number of customers inside Express stores to 5 at a time
- Working with beer and liquor distributors who are making hand sanitizer for use in Liquor Marts
- Reducing hours of operation at stores across the province
- Requiring customers to physically distance in the stores
MBLL said the Liquor Mart worker was last in the store on Saturday, March 28, and is now recovering at home in self-isolation. It’s not known how they contracted the virus but public health officials are investigating to determine who else, including customers and staff, the employee may have come into contact with to determine if anyone else needs to self-isolate.
At this point, the province has not indicated that it will be closing Liquor Marts due to the pandemic.
If MGEU members have any questions about what is happening in their workplace, please review the Frequently Asked Questions on the MGEU's COVID-19 Information page. If you don’t find the answer to your question there, please contact our Resource Centre.