Mediterranean Market keeping extra clean during pandemic

Extreme measures at grocer

Sarita Patel

With food businesses essential as the public stocks up for self-isolation, Kelowna's Mediterranean Market is taking extra steps to ensure customer safety. 

“Every morning, we get together and reassess what’s going on. And for the last week, I don’t think there’s been a day gone by that we haven’t added a procedure or eliminated something. We’re doing absolutely everything we can both to keep my staff safe, which is very important to me, as well as the general public,” says owner Dave Schwab.

They’re practising safe social distancing by only allowing a handful of people inside at a time, even asking only one member of a family to go in and grab groceries. Debit and cashier stations are wiped down every time someone uses the section. Baskets are one-time use as a staff member posted at the door wipes them down. 

“We’re policing in the stores, making sure people are following the rules. For the first time in my life on Saturday, I asked a customer to leave that wasn’t a shoplifter," says Schwab.

“If you’re going to stay open, you've got responsibility – just putting a sign on your door, saying we are taking extra steps, it doesn’t do it. I’ve been in businesses that have that on the window and, sure enough, you go in there and they’re handing you a dirty debit machine, they’re serving you with no gloves. I don’t know if they don’t get it.”

Some of Schwab’s staff are staying home by choice, to either take care of their families or themselves. 

“We’re not requiring anybody to show up to work, but I’ll tell you what – I’ve got some great staff, and they’ve done such a good job.”

“Every day, I thank God for what my staff is going through and what they’re doing for us and showing up for work and really sacrificing risk on their own part in order to keep us open and keep people eating.”

Schwab has been in business for over 20 years and believes it’s an obligation to remain open for the community that has supported his family. 

“They put my boys through university. I feel a real responsibility to do everything I can do for them and, most importantly, in the safest way possible.”

Schwab also wants the public to know that he’s here to serve the community in any way he can. 

“Anybody that’s absolutely stuck, shut in, whether they're sick or not – call us. We don’t have a delivery service, but we don’t abandon our customers.”

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