Latest from Ballymena & District: Pressure builds on foodstore staff - COVID 19 puts staff on frontline

Dessie Blackadder

Reporter:

Dessie Blackadder

A 'Bank Holiday' buying pattern threatens to put some food retailers in the Ballymena area under intolerable pressure, the Guardian has been told.

One manager at a local filling station called on people to modify their behaviour as the COVID 19 crisis continues.

"We have staff here working in extreme conditions - they are doing their best against all odds. Let's face it, none of these people are earning huge sums of money but they are turning into work day after day just to ensure that someone is there to serve the public.

"They deserve a round of applause too - they are doing an absolutely essential job.

"Food shops are attempting to manage an unprecedented situation but a significant portion of the public are making our job a constant battle.

"We've had entire families with kids through the doors, people calling in for just one item or others who seem to be filling up their trolleys every other day," he said.

The Government have urged people to follow social distancing rules in terms of space and shopping habits but the reality on the ground bears no resemblance to expectations.

"Staff are being put under enormous stress because we are seeing footfall numbers at a 'bank holiday' level.

"Food retailers can assure the public that food and beverages are NOT going to run out - but people have to change their behaviour.

"Buy what you need for a few days. Don't be coming in and out for the odd item here or there. Have patience and try and make space.

"The pattern we are seeing now just leads to aisles being clogged up and that is the last thing we need.

"And just remember - most grocery stores are open seven days a week - we have to get people out of this Friday/Saturday buying habit until we get out of lockdown again," said the manager. "In the vast majority of cases it just takes one person to do a decent shop - please, please have consideration for others," he pleaded.

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