The split-shift system implemented by essential service provider, Lifestyle SUPERSPAR, as a proactive effort to mitigate coronavirus risks, has proven to be a prudent measure and will allow the store, despite a positive COVID-19 test, to continue serving its customers without compromising the health and safety of either customers or employees.
A supplier employee allocated to Lifestyle SUPERSPAR, and therefore subject to the same protocols as all store employees, has informed store management of a positive test result. The affected individual, who was last in the store on Tuesday, 28 April 2020, was advised on Wednesday, 29 April 2020, that he had been in contact, outside of the work environment, with someone who had tested positive. He immediately placed himself in voluntary self-isolation and went for a Covid-19 test. Unfortunately, his results came back positive and he advised store management telephonically on Saturday evening, 2 May 2020.
“We have very strict protocols in place at Lifestyle SUPERSPAR,” said Store Manager, Brad Buchanan. “These include staff screening for all of our own staff as well as for supplier representatives and merchandisers, some of whom are allocated to retail stores on a semi-permanent basis. It also includes a requirement of immediate communication from all parties, the wearing of masks by all staff, regular hand sanitisation by all staff members throughout the day, weekly deep cleaning of the entire store by specialist service provider Multiserve and the rigorous implementation of the split-shift system. None of the staff within each of the three shifts come into contact with each other in any way. The supplier merchandisers were also allocated to the split shifts, in this way ensuring that each team is truly a separate unit. We even go so far as to ensure that we use separate service providers to transport staff on different shifts.”
As a precaution, Multiserve, who last sanitized the store on Tuesday, 28 April, was called in immediately to perform another thorough deep clean of the entire store at 8.30pm on 2 May, including the shop floor, storeroom and all production and backup areas. “All equipment, machinery, floors and displays receive a rapid fog application to ensure complete coverage. All chemicals are 100% food-safe and SABS certified,” said Buchanan.
According to Buchanan, the whole of Shift B will go for testing from tomorrow and follow the stipulated course of action of the Health Department. “Shift A will open the store at the normal time, 7am, on Sunday 3 May, with none of the members of this team having been in contact with anyone in Shift B since 20 April,” he said. “Once test results for Shift B are received, health protocol will be followed and no impacted employees will return to work until they are permitted to do so as per the Health Department and NICD.”
Lifestyle SUPERSPAR and Lifestyle Centre co-owner, Bruce Rencken said, “It has been our aim throughout these uncertain times to communicate with our tenants, our staff, and our customers in a clear, timely and comprehensive manner. For this reason, we are advising the community immediately of this situation. We are confident that we have taken all the necessary precautions and followed rigorous health and safety measures, but it is important to inform our customers without delay so that they are aware and can make informed decisions.”
His brother and business partner, Paul Rencken, said, “We made the call to implement a split-shift system for this very eventuality. Even though it has put a strain on our resources, the staff at Lifestyle SUPERSPAR have responded with enthusiasm and tremendous willingness and we are grateful for their selfless service.”
Store management will now split the remaining day shift further in the coming days, a possibility being to supplement the staff complement with staff members from the TOPS store in Lifestyle Centre, which has been closed since the beginning of lockdown.