People in Canada are shocked at Dollarama's lack of protective measures
While most essential stores that remain open right now are taking a number of new steps to protect both customers and staff, there is one chain that people in Canada have noticed isn't quite doing its best — in fact, it doesn't seem to be trying at all.
As grocery stores and restaurants install plexiglass at checkout counters, supply those in-store with hand sanitizer and other defenses, and even pay their staff more for working under such risky conditions, residents have been outraged to find that Canadian discount retailer Dollarama has been leaving its workers exposed.
Many have cited a complete lack of protective equipment — like shields, gloves or masks for employees — as well as no social distancing protocols in lineups.
#dollarama checkout does not allow for proper Physical distancing. People are walking right beside each other during checkout. There is no effort by the store to stop this action. Plus 75% of the products in the store are not food. @fordnation #COVIDー19 #SocialDistancing pic.twitter.com/HhEuqRaaMH— Bob & Jean Travel (@FrameToFrameBJ) April 11, 2020
More than one individual online has posted accounts of subpar makeshift barriers constructed of things like plastic wrap and broom handles in select Dollarama locations — certainly not substantive enough materials to effectively ensure the safety of cashiers.
How is plastic wrap suppose to protect anyone #dollarama is this a joke to you? Other companies are taking things seriously with hard plastic border to protect the worker. But this isn’t protecting anyone. #canada @fordnation @JustinTrudeau #pandemic #coronavirus #Covid_19 pic.twitter.com/vixlsUOM2R— Christina (@Christina_Bou_) April 15, 2020
So many people are appalled by the chain's failure to properly react to the COVID-19 issue that a petition was recently launched, calling the company to provide its frontline team with proper protective gear. It has nearly 20,000 signatures at the time of publication.
"The multi-billion dollar company is refusing to provide workers with gloves and masks, and many of the cashiers don’t even have a glass partition separating them from customers," it reads. "Workers are endangering their lives for minimum wage."
Witnesses have shared stories of Dollarama team members using their own scarves or clothing items to shield their faces, or simply doing without protection at all. Staff have also apparently told that if they want to wear masks or gloves, they need to bring their own.
@CityNews I went into a Dollarama 2 weeks ago and asked a young attendee why he wasn’t wearing gloves... He said that he didn’t have and Dollarama DID NOT provide. He has option to buy when they get stock. I gave him a couple pairs! Dollarama is not being honest.— Christine Duncan (@chrisaduncan) April 15, 2020
Some employees have apparently been shut down or even fired for bringing up concerns over their safety and the lack of measures in place at the corporately-owned stores during the pandemic.
The way the company is handling the situation has led many to wonder whether the store should really be deemed essential. Some are even calling for a boycott or predicting future lawsuits.
"Shut #dollarama down!" seems to be a common sentiment on social media, with one user adding: "They are lying when they say they are taking the proper steps. Dollarama is NOT essential. It’s small and crowded and needs to be closed. Do the right thing."
Why are they even deemed an essential business, Furthermore their employees should contact the Ministry. They definitely have a right to refuse work. I hope Dollarama understands the potential lawsuit they may have on their hands if one of their employees get sick at work.— Kevin Pearcy (@KevinPearcy2) April 10, 2020
In an online statement about the novel coronavirus — which mostly talks about stock fulfilment — the chain says that "for your safety and that of our employees, we have implemented additional cleaning and disinfecting procedures in-store. We have reduced store hours to allow more time for sanitizing and re-stocking."
It goes on to ask both customers and workers to stay home if they feel sick, to wash their hands often and maintain their distance from others in the store (something that virtually all other stores have been physically enforcing with ground markers for lineups).
Hopefully, the public's passionate response to Dollarama's COVID-19 procedures will be able to bring about some sort of change.
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