Two Shoprite stores closed for violating coronavirus safety regulations

(Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg)
(Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg)

Two Shoprite supermarkets in Pretoria were on Monday shut down by labour inspectors for failing to comply with health and safety regulations during lockdown.

According to Michael Msiza, the Department of Employment and Labour Provincial Chief Inspector, inspectors found that the shops in central Pretoria did not provide adequate protection for employees and customers, putting them at risk of contacting the coronavirus.

Msiza said inspectors visited a Shoprite and a Shoprite USave and established that there was no attempt by the supermarkets to ensure that customers maintain a safe distance between each other, which is 1.5 metres.

'No effort'

"There was no effort by the employer to conduct risk assessment," said Msiza. He added that cashiers who came into contact with customers were not provided with protective measures such as masks and gloves. Only hand sanitisers were available.

Msiza said the shops would remain closed until they came up with a plan to address the identified health and safety failures.

Supermarkets are allowed to continue trading during the national 21-day lockdown, which will end on April 16. Only essential goods are allowed to be sold during this time.

Last week, the retail giant announced that it would pay a R102 million bonus to frontline shop floor and distribution employees for continuing their work during the Covid-19 outbreak, in line with calls for business to protect workers during the crisis.

In order to keep a safe distance between shoppers, some retailers are limiting the number of customers inside the shop at one time. 

Fin24 contacted Shoprite for comment on the store closures. At the time of publication, none had been received. Should it be forthcoming, this story will be updated. 

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