Smethwick supermarket introduces additional measures after Covid-19 outbreak

A Sandwell supermarket has introduced additional safety measures after eight members of staff tested positive for coronavirus.

Asda in Cape Hill, Smethwick. Photo: Google Maps
Asda in Cape Hill, Smethwick. Photo: Google Maps

Asda, in Cape Hill, Smethwick, is continuing to work closely with Sandwell Council and Public Health England (PHE) Midlands to keep staff and customers safe.

Eight workers at the store tested positive for the virus last week. One further worker tested positive towards the end of last week and immediately self-isolated – but bosses say this is believed to be an individual case, not connected to the outbreak at the store.

Staff who needed to self-isolate at home are continuing to do so.

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The store's pharmacy underwent a deep clean on September 2, and now Asda management have implemented additional measures, on top of their existing Covid-19 safety policies. It includes enhanced cleaning in the store, installing more sanitisation stations for customers and colleagues, and reintroducing security to manage access to the store during busy periods.

Asda is continuing to encourage all customers to wear face coverings by offering anyone without a covering the opportunity to buy a packet of face masks before they enter the store. Customers who are unable or unwilling to purchase a packet of masks will be provided with a single-use mask before entering the store.

Dr Lisa McNally, Sandwell’s director of public health said: “We are grateful to Asda for their ongoing co-operation. They have good infection control policies in place and responded quickly to this recent outbreak.

Careful

“All businesses need to be especially careful to maintain social distancing on their premises and ensure face coverings are worn by customers.

“I need to remind people that Covid-19 illness can be fatal and we continue to be very concerned by the very high infection rates in Smethwick.

“We are strongly advising everyone to avoid crowds and social gatherings as much as possible right now. If shopping or on public transport, a face covering must be worn unless you have a medical exemption.

“We have seen a number of cases of infection passing through extended families and friends. Therefore, people should avoid having non-essential visitors to their homes, including any family they don’t live with.”

Dr James Chipwete, consultant in communicable disease control with Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, said: “It is important that everyone take responsibility for their individual health, and for the health and wellbeing of the wider population.

“We know that Smethwick is an area where we have an increased rate of Covid-19, so it is vital that people observe social distancing and wear face coverings in enclosed public places, including when going shopping.

“The law clearly states that only people with actual medical exemption and children under 11 years old are permitted to go without face coverings in enclosed public places.”

A spokesperson from Asda added: “We have been working collaboratively with Public Health England and Sandwell Council and they are satisfied with the steps we have taken and continue to take to ensure that our store is a safe place to shop.”

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