food basket

Aiden O’Regan, manager of MacPhee’s Market in Souris, said they are taking precautionary measures for the safety of customers and staff.

Grocery stores are an essential service, whether during the normal everyday but also in times of stress when society is reeling with the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr O’Regan said.

In PEI the risk of contracting the respiratory virus is low, but steps taken by government to mitigate that risk are still important measures, he added.

“We have standard operating procedures in place,” he said.

Working in a food environment there are already strict hygiene practices in place and those procedures have been reiterated to staff.

Even so extra diligence has been the norm lately.

“We’ve stopped all in-store tastings and sampling and staff are wearing gloves even in areas where they normally wouldn’t,” he said.

Extra cleaning protocol is taking place as well.

Wiping down areas such as handles on freezers in the retail space and the belts and key pads at the checkouts has become routine.

“We have a schedule in place and a log where it is documented,” he said.

If an employee gets sick on the job immediate measures can be taken.

“We would have an office made available where it could be used for 12 to 24 hours until they can go to their home,” Mr O’Regan explained.

As for the availability of certain supplies, such as paper products and sanitizing items, Mr O’Regan said there is a shortage.

“We can’t order those supplies manually right now, but our suppliers are sending it out by allocation,” he added.

Mr O’Regan puts the supply shortage down to consumers across the country stocking up.

“There is certainly a bit of panic buying right now,” Mr O’Regan said, noting business has gone up an estimated 20 to 30 per cent over the last few weeks.

But if PEI gets to the state where there are limited movements Mr O’Regan wants to assure the public MacPhee’s Market will have the staff to keep the business running smooth.

“We will continue to take appropriate action and hopefully at the end of it everything comes out well,” he said.

The Turning Point, organic and natural health food speciality store in Montague, is seeing an increase in the demand for immune boosting products so much so that owner April MacLean said supply could become a challenge.

In the meantime in response to the growing pandemic Ms MacLean said, “with caution and in the best interest of our clients, patients and employees” the business will proceed with an intermittent closure at close of business on Saturday, March 13 through to the end of the month.

“We ask people who have been exposed to or are showing any sign of symptoms to please have someone shop on their behalf.”

“The potential risk is of utmost importance.”

Three people work at The Turning Point. Check their Facebook page for open/close hours.

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