SINGAPORE: NTUC FairPrice Finest at Bedok Mall announced a three-day closure on Wednesday (Apr 1) after one of its employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Following the move, FairPrice published a note on Facebook on Thursday afternoon to dispel rumours about the staff member, and to "share the actions that [it had] taken".
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FairPrice said, contrary to rumours, the staff member did not work at the sushi counter, but was part of the back end crew replenishing stock, with minimal customer contact.
"We take the opportunity to remind the public not to spread any unverified information, which would cause unnecessary public alarm," said FairPrice. It also said it would not reveal the identity of the staff member for privacy reasons.
For customers who have visited the store recently, FairPrice said the risk of infection from transient contact is low, citing the Ministry of Health. However, should such customers feel unwell, they should seek medical help.
Staff members from the Bedok Mall store have been put on a leave of absence, and have been advised to stay at home and monitor their health, said FairPrice.
Staff members have also been advised to seek medical help should they feel unwell, with all cases displaying COVID-19 symptoms to be reported to MOH immediately and referred to hospitals for further assessment and treatment.
For the store's re-opening on Apr 4, FairPrice said it would redeploy manpower from other stores and its headquarters.
FairPrice said it would adhere to guidelines from the National Environment Agency (NEA) for the cleaning and disinfection of the store.
"This enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedure is supervised by NEA and involves a stringent process requiring different treatment methods for different surfaces - such as floors, walls, shelves, fixtures, handles, trolleys - to thoroughly disinfect the store and ensure it is safe for customers and staff," said FairPrice.
NEA-approved disinfection contractors will be carrying out the disinfection works, and the store will reopen only after inspection and approval by NEA, said FairPrice.
Additionally, after disinfection procedures are completed, FairPrice will activate its own team to "conduct additional cleaning and a thorough wipe down of the store".
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Addressing the risk of COVID-19 transmission associated with food and food packaging, FairPrice cited guidance from the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), that there is currently no evidence to support such transmission.
"This means that there is a very low risk of spread from food, product and packaging that may have been exposed to an infected person, said FairPrice.
"Hence, there is no need to dispose of food and the food is safe to eat."
However, as a precautionary measure, FairPrice said that it has thrown out all non-packaged perishable food to avoid cross contamination from the disinfection and cleaning process.