loblaws dupont

Loblaws shuts down Dupont and Christie store in Toronto after COVID-19 outbreak

The Loblaws grocery store at the corner of Christie and Dupont has finally closed after the public became increasingly concerned about reports of a COVID-19 outbreak among staff that may have been played down.

The popular Seaton Village supermarket had to shut its doors more than once in recent weeks to properly sanitize after multiple employees became infected with the virus — including on April 17, April 29 and May 2 — leading some to wonder if the location should even be open right now.

The retailer said in a post on its Facebook page on May 2 that it had implemented additional measures, like checking the temperature of all workers and even further reducing the number of customers permitted entry at one time, after "a number of colleagues" had indeed tested positive for the infectious disease.

"We’ve been working closely with public health to make sure the risk to our customers remains low," the store added, saying that it was closed for the remainder of the day for "thorough cleaning," but would be open for regular hours the following day.

Recent customers received an email eight days later, on May 10, saying that the grocer was temporarily but indefinitely closed for usual business as a result.

As of May 11, the location will only be serving as a PC Express pickup store, with no shoppers allowed inside to browse. The pharmacy will remain open for prescription drop-off and pickup.

Toronto Public Health is now investigating the situation and conducting contract tracing while all potentially affected employees are isolating at home.

The official number of staff that have tested positive for the virus has not been released to the public, or even to other workers, according to some team members who have chosen to remain anonymous.

An employee told blogTO they believe that number to be somewhere around 20 infected, with around 40 people self-isolating due to possible exposure.

Some customers have said in social media comments that they're "not surprised" at the incident based on the lack of things like mask wearing and social distancing directives being practiced in-store.

"The last time I was there a week or two ago I noticed several employees without masks and gloves, and several of them were congregated together closely talking (no physical distancing). Hopefully this situation will be taken seriously from here on out!," one Facebook user said in a thread on the topic.

They added, "Perhaps following physical distancing rules and wearing masks would have prevented the spread.... It is essential for management to enforce these rules to keep their staff and customers safe."

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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