Ten members of staff in the Tesco in Clearwater Shopping Centre have tested positive for COVID-19, with two of those cases requiring hospitalization. Gript have been told that staff members have been ordered by management not to inform the public about the outbreak, and that not all members of staff in the store have been tested for COVID-19.
One member of staff in the Tesco told Gript that that the outbreak was tied to a night out and that only staff members who attended the event have been tested for COVID-19. This means that other staff, who have potentially had extended, direct contact with individuals now known to have COVID-19, have so far not been tested and are interacting with the public.
One member of staff told Gript that “we’ve people handling the home deliveries and they don’t even know if they’ve got COVID or not”, and that “we were told that the HSE would contact us if they needed to but we were working right beside them, touching the same stuff, and none of us have been tested, I don’t understand it. People here are on edge, they’ve worried about themselves and about the customers.”
Staff told Gript that “we were brought into a meeting and told we weren’t to say anything to the public, just to keep quiet about it and that there was going to be a deep clean of the store.” On the ‘deep clean’ they told us that “they put up an action plan today but we’re just working away as normal. There’s no extra restrictions, there’s been no extra cleaning, they haven’t even cleaned the staff bathroom.”
We reached out to Tesco with a number of questions on this situation, including questions asking if they could confirm or deny that management had told staff not to inform the public about the outbreak and if refusing to tell the public about COVID-19 outbreaks in their stores was a formal policy of Tesco Ireland.
They did not respond directly to the questions we put to them but did send us the following statement, “The safety of our colleagues and customers is our number one priority. We can confirm that a small number of our colleagues have tested positive for Covid-19. We engaged immediately with the HSE and followed all appropriate public health advice. Although we were not required to do so, we have carried out a deep clean as a precautionary measure. We will not be providing information about individual colleagues.”
We asked Tesco a number of follow-on questions, including again asking if refusing to tell the public about COVID-19 outbreaks in their stores was the policy of Tesco Ireland, and were told, “We have nothing more to add.”