Foster’s supermarket on Thursday issued a press release denying rumours that some of its staff had tested positive for COVID-19 and were still working.
“This rumor is unsubstantiated and completely false,” the company stated.
In its statement, Foster’s said, “We take the health and safety of our team and community extremely seriously and would not knowingly put anyone at risk.”
Police Commissioner Derek Byrne said he had been made aware of the rumours regarding Foster’s and a “small team of officers” was investigating the matter. He said spreading fake news is a criminal offence, under Section 64 of the Penal Code.
That section states that the publication of a false statement which is likely to cause fear and alarm to the public carries a maximum penalty of a $5,000 fine and imprisonment for five years.
Governor Martyn Roper earlier this week said that a ‘fake news task force’ had been created.
In assuring the public that it takes the safety and health of its customers and staff seriously, Foster’s said it had put the following policies in place:
- Any team members returning from overseas were being asked to immediately self-quarantine for a period of two weeks before starting back at work.
- Any team member living with someone who was quarantined was also asked to self-quarantine for two weeks.
- Any team member who does not feel well is asked to stay home from work, and if they are presenting with flu-like symptoms, to call the Health Services Authority flu hotline or use the online self-assessment tool immediately.
- Elderly and immuno-compromised team members have been given the option to stay home during this time should they wish.
- All team members are required to wash their hands and sanitise their workstations frequently throughout the day.
As well as those measures, Foster’s said it had installed plexiglass protective shields for each of its registers and customer service counters, and protective face shields for front-end staffers have been ordered.
“In these difficult times, we discourage the spread of rumours and fake news as they create unnecessary panic and stress within the community. Should rumors surface, and you feel unsure or have questions, we ask that you reach out to us directly at [email protected],” Foster’s said.