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Mall store staff in panic over positive tests

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It is believed that the three employees, who are all tellers at the store, were tested after they displayed flu-like symptoms at work.

It is believed that the three employees, who are all tellers at the store, were tested after they displayed flu-like symptoms at work. Picture: Danie van der Lith

PANIC has gripped tenants and workers at the North Cape Mall after a third employee at Game reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

It is believed that the three employees, who are all tellers at the store, were tested after they displayed flu-like symptoms at work.

One of the employees, who has an underlying health condition, has been hospitalised.

Panicked workers claimed on Wednesday that with the first incident the store was closed for decontamination but in the latest incident it has remained open.

The workers added that they were warned not to talk to other people or the media about the cases.

“With the first case, management called us together and told us about the case. They promised that the incident would be reported to head office and the store would be decontaminated,” a staff member said.

“We only heard about the second case, which was on Friday, in the corridors and confronted management. They only responded when we knocked off work and we were expected to report for duty the next day, where it was business as usual.”

They added that they heard about the third case on Wednesday. “There is no communication from management.”

According to the workers, they have been stigmatised and are denied entry into other stores at the mall.

They stated further that they were forced to walk to the taxi rank because workers from other stores were afraid to share transport.

One shopper was traumatised when she heard about the positive cases and said she would go into self-isolation.

“I am so scared. I am going into self-isolation. I was walking through the aisles and touching things. I was not even worried when I was at the tills. Who knows whether the tellers who assisted me were the ones who tested positive,” the shopper said.

The SA Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers Union (SACCAWU) has meanwhile expressed its “disappointment” in Game for allegedly failing to follow prescribed Covid-19 protocols.

According to the union, the store is shifting the blame onto the workers, pointing out that employees’ temperatures were not checked when they reported for duty.

SACCAWU local organiser Anthony Kgabi said they were busy engaging with the Department of Health and relevant parties to resolve the issue.

“We are disappointed because this is a national store that seems to be allowing the transfer of the virus at such a fast rate. The store is supposed to have been closed within 72 hours of the first case for decontamination and tracing processes to unfold. It is so sad that not all contacts can be traced now because the procedures were not followed to stop the spread,” said Kgabi.

“We want the authorities to intervene to determine whether the procedures were followed.”

The manager of the Kimberley store referred all enquiries to its national office, which could not be contacted.

The management of the mall also referred enquiries to its Bloemfontein head office, which was closed.