‘It’s just a free-for-all in these grocery stores right now’
Western Canada’s largest private-sector union is proposing that people be limited to one trip to the grocery store each week to prevent the spread of COVID-19 among customers and workers.
Tom Hesse, president of the United Food and Commercial Workers 401, which represents 32,000 workers, said governments should also bring in regulations that allow only one person per family in a store at a time.
“We’re going to ask for clear rules that are enforceable with fines in a regulatory regime. The fact of the matter is we can’t let these places become nursing homes and it’s just a free-for-all in these grocery stores right now,” Hesse told The Canadian Press.
The union suggests loyalty programs and membership cards could be used to track visits and peace officers may be needed to enforce the regulations.
While people can be fined for violating social distancing rules inside grocery stores, Hesse said it’s still unsafe.
“I walked down the street from my house and they’ve got yellow tape around the monkey bars and I’m told that if I get on those monkey bars I can get a $1,000 fine,” he said.
“But they’re letting hundreds of people wander through grocery stores. So where’s the regulatory regime?”
Hesse said the union will be sending an official proposal to the Alberta government and grocery store chains next week and hopes that a nation-wide implementation will eventually occur. He said government regulation is required because self-regulation by the grocery industry would be “the fox guarding the henhouse.”