In a shocking misunderstanding of how Covid-19 is actually spread, Iceland Foods have upset many by demanding that NHS staff touching products in store must buy the products to “reduce the risk of contamination”.
“We have had strong measures in place to protect our staff during the Covid-19 outbreak. We will be limiting payments to cards only (contactless where possible) during the NHS exclusive hours, and aiming to clean stores following the exclusive hour each day. If NHS workers touch products they have to buy them, they can’t put them back. This is to reduce the risk of contamination. We are communicating regularly with our store teams, offering guidance and updates on health and safety measures.”
UPDATE: ICELAND HAVE NOW REMOVED THIS SECTION. It can however still be seen in the link archived above.
The virus that causes Covid-19 is thought to spread mainly from person to person, mainly through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. Keeping your distance, keeping your hands clean and not touching your face is usually enough to prevent it spreading. Read more about how it spreads here.
The spread isn’t really the point of this article though, it’s more to highlight what this is doing to the morale of frontline staff.
Katie Caldwell, a Staff nurse at NHS Fife, put it better than we could:
“Yeah, thanks Iceland Foods. Thanks for implying healthcare professionals are dirty, unclean people. Thanks for making us out to be lepers. If anything, Iceland – healthcare professionals are MORE likely to adhere to IPC guidelines by rigorous hand washing (for proof, just feel how rough our hands are). Can we say the same about your staff who handle one item after the other?
Do your staff wash their hands after coming in to contact with EACH & EVERY customer? Guess what….we do! Do your staff wear separate coveralls for each customer? Guess what….we do!
At this horrid time, don’t make us feel bad. Not when we have colleagues losing their homes because their bigoted landlords don’t want a dirty paramedic living in their homes! We wonder if you have the same protocol for the general public? The general public who are more likely to fail the correct and approved handwashing technique?
One loaf of bread could be touched by +50 customers throughout the day. How many of them have washed their hands? How many of them have hugged their friend before entering the store?
How many of them have visited the bathroom without washing their hands?
Because you can guarantee a healthcare professional sticks to a strict hygiene regime because we see first hand how this virus is spread. Hand hygiene is drilled into us.
Why not take a leaf out of stores like Waitrose & Partners, Asda, Morrisons, Tesco and many more – who are going above and beyond to ensure our hard working, tired, exhausted, emotionally and physically defeated heroes are given the recognition they deserve and the morale boost they so desperately need right now! Your ‘policy’ is damaging to the morale of these heroes!”