Co-op worker appeals to customers not to put staff’s lives at risk

Shoppers have sprung into action to support calls for people not to spend time “browsing” round a local store to pass the time during the coronavirus outbreak.

It has come following a heartfelt appeal from Ruth Salmon, who works at the Co-op, in Elmswell, who said that staff are being put at risk and customers need to come to the store, get what they need and get home.

There has been an influx of people from in and around the village making a bee-line for the Co-op, in Ashfield Road, which has left staff anxious and stressed.

In comments posted on the social medial site Nextdoor Ruth said: “Just because we are open doesn’t mean we are here for you to spend your time browsing around.

“We are designated as an essential service. We are not here for you because you have nothing else to do. We are not here for you because you feel like getting out of the house for a while.

“Every customer who walks in our doors puts us at risk. We really don’t want to be here but we realize that we are needed.

“You don’t see how many times a day we wash and sanitize our hands to try to keep ourselves safe.

“You don’t see our upset co-workers in the break room struggling to keep their composure.

“You don’t see our spouses who worry about us every minute we are at work and who are our strength when we get home.

“The least you can do is come in with a sense of purpose, get what you need, and get yourselves home. In and out.”

Many have backed the call with Yvonne Cleary, from Beyton, saying: “You are absolutely right.  You should not have to be in fear and people should respect what you are doing not flouting it.

Yvonne Cleary, also from Beyton, said: “I hope you have screens up so that you don’t have to face customers face to face and that the Co-op has provided gloves for you to wear.”

Lesley Reed, from Elmswell, said: “So sorry you and your colleagues are being put in this very difficult situation Ruth. Surely it can’t be necessary for people to shop as often as they are doing?”

And she added that a security person should be at the store to control access.

Phillipa Powell, from Woolpit, said: “Unfortunately people are treating a trip to the shop like they would any other time … there has been too many people in there including children just wandering around.”

Kirsten Ryland, also from Woolpit, said: “Please respect all key workers … most are on minimum wage.”

And Rita Lenko, from Norton, added: “only too aware of what you are up against. I am so sorry to see that the thoughtless of people is impacting on you.”

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