Call It Spring, a men's and women's vegan shoe and accessories retailer, was closed this week after an employee relayed their infected status to management.
Picture: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / Bloomberg
Call It Spring, a men's and women's vegan shoe and accessories retailer, was closed this week after an employee relayed their infected status to management. Picture: Geert Vanden Wijngaert / Bloomberg

Shoppers upset after an uMhlanga Mall did not notify shoppers of positive Covid-19 case

By Nathan Craig Time of article published Jun 28, 2020

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Durban - The doors of a retailer at Gateway Theatre of Shopping reopened yesterday after an employee tested positive for Covid-19. But shoppers are upset as they were not notified by the centre.

Call It Spring, a men's and women's vegan shoe and accessories retailer, was closed this week after an employee relayed their infected status to management.

Busby House’s head of AGI brands ALDO and Call It Spring, Nicola Argyros, confirmed that an employee had tested positive and they were following stringent precautionary measures. 

“We are relieved that the team member is currently in quarantine and receiving treatment. We are wishing them a speedy recovery. The remaining team members who were exposed are currently being tested and are in self-isolation for the time being,” she said.

Argyros said the safety of their team members and customers was a top priority and that the centre was notified.

“As per stipulated procedure, the company is following strict government regulations and adhering to all necessary protocols including a complete store sanitisation. All required measures have been adhered to. 

After days had passed and sanitisations were conducted, Argyros said they would continue to follow all health regulations and that their Call It Spring store would be reopened tomorrow. She said they would continue to follow all health regulations.

Marketing coordinator, Jason Pietersen from Excellerate Brand Management, which represents Gateway, said they were made aware of the positive Covid-19 case at Call It Spring on Friday. 

“The store followed their Covid-19 response plan accordingly, and in line with government regulations. The relevant authorities were notified during this process. The store issued the relevant paperwork and sanitisation certification to centre management prior to reopening the store,” he said.

Pietersen said there had already been three other stores within the mall with a staff member testing positive.

“Gateway and our tenants are committed to compliance with Covid-19 protocols to ensure the wellbeing of our patrons and centre staff.”

Shoppers made their concerns known as there were no notifications posted around the centre or on social media and it was business as usual at the mall. 

A mother who visited the centre with her 9-year-old child was concerned as Call It Spring was open on their Tuesday to the store but come Friday it was shut down. 

After inquiring about the closure she was told about the confirmed Covid-19 case.

The mother said she was concerned for their safety as no notices were posted and the centre had not made the information public knowledge.  

Yuvna Balalee went to the mall on Friday and said that before being told by a friend that there was a confirmed case, she was unaware.

“We were there from 9 am and left at about 3 pm. People were just shopping and going about their business. There were no notices or signs informing us what had happened or that there was a confirmed case we were told nothing.”

Another shopper said the centre was bustling with crowds of people who were none the wiser that a store had ceased trading due to the coronavirus.

“Imagine the thousands of people in an out of the centre, what if someone got infected? How would you find that person? The centre sanitizes your hands and you have to wear a mask but that’s it.”

Sunday Tribune

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