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Workers at mall fear exposure to virus

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Concerns have been raised by shoppers and employees at the Diamond Pavilion Mall in Kimberley after a retail store in the centre was apparently closed and fumigated on Monday.

File image. Picture: Danie van der Lith

CONCERNS have been raised by shoppers and employees at the Diamond Pavilion Mall in Kimberley after a retail store in the centre was apparently closed and fumigated on Monday.

It is believed that two employees of the store, who received their results on the weekend, tested positive for Covid-19.

Tenants and employees at the mall now fear that they might have been exposed to the virus and have accused the mall management of poor communication.

Workers at the mall also raised concerns as the store was open over the weekend and shoppers moved freely from one store to another.

A worker at the mall questioned when and why the affected employees were tested in the first place.

“We understand that the identity of the workers must be kept a secret but it will be useful if there was communication about when they were tested and why. That way we will be able to determine if we have also been exposed. What if they fell ill while they were at work, were tested, and continued to report for duty while they waited for their results?” said a worker at the mall. 

The worker feared that someone might have come into contact with the infected employees without their knowledge.

The Diamond Pavilion Mall refused to confirm the incident and indicated that it did not share any information regarding test results or specific cases in order to protect an individual’s right to privacy.

Diamond Pavilion Mall general manager Amanda Barra indicated that casual contacts did not need to isolate.

“It should be noted that there is a clear distinction between ‘close contacts’ and ‘casual contacts’. Customers shopping in a store are in the main ‘casual contacts,” elaborated Barra.

The mall highlighted its commitment to adhering to all protocols laid out by the government as well as continuous disinfection and sanitising protocols, and keeping the Department of Health informed of all relevant cases.       

“Due to our strict compliance to the government protocols regarding sanitising and social distancing, Diamond Pavilion and its stores remain open to serve the public,” Barra concluded.

The manager of the store refused to comment or confirm that the store was closed. She advised the media to rather focus on more positive stories like educating members of the public on how to prevent the spread of the virus.

She added that people in the Northern Cape needed to know that this was now “a reality”, and pointed to hot-spot areas like the Western Cape.