Despite the positive cases, Coles has confirmed that the stores remain open under the direction of the Department of Health.
Says a Coles spokesperson: ‘Coles has conducted a full clean of the stores over and above the recommendations from the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (Department of Health), which has confirmed that the stores can continue to trade and the risk of transmission for customers and team members is very low.
‘The two team members, who do not work together, are both isolated at home and team members who have come into close contact with them have been instructed to self-isolate and seek medical treatment should they display any symptoms.
‘The safety of our customers and team members is our most important focus and we continue to work closely with Federal and State Departments of Health and relevant health authorities to keep up to date with the latest advice.’
While Coles has attracted some criticism for not closing the stores, they maintain that they’re operating under government guidelines.
‘The Federal Government’s COVID-19 Hygiene Practices For Supermarkets, released this week, confirm the processes already in place at Coles for managing confirmed cases,’ the spokesperson says.
‘In addition to criteria on hygiene and social distancing practices, the guidelines specify that “there is no requirement to close a store if a staff member tests positive for COVID-19.”
‘This follows advice from the Victorian Department of Health, which has stated: “Extensive testing has shown that people who have passed through places where there was a confirmed case, known as casual contacts, have an extremely low risk of transmission and are not currently recommended for testing”.’
Adds the spokesperson: ‘We thank our customers for their ongoing support of our team members as we work together to stay safe and keep our customers supplied with essential food and groceries they need.’