‘Be patient and kind’: London Drugs staff face threats before, during virus pandemic

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As if the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t concerning enough, staff at London Drugs stores across B.C. are apparently facing threats from some shoppers.

Some customers have reportedly threatened to spit or cough on staff at various London Drugs locations.

“We have seen a number of situations where visitors in our stores have lost their temper or used threats of spitting or coughing at staff as a threat to commit crimes,” an email from London Drugs reads.

The company notes, however, that “abuse of retail staff is a significant issue that has been on the rise across the country over the last several months, not just during the pandemic.”

It added it’s been working with police and the government to deal with the ongoing issue, and that people within the retail community have been “sharing information on these incidents.”

“The behaviour is often spontaneous, not rational, nor easily deterred,” the email from London Drugs reads.

Meanwhile, in a video posted online, General Manager of Pharmacy Chris Chiew has asked everyone for their patience.

“We know you’re trying desperately to find essential items while practising safe social distance,” Chiew said. “We have taken many steps to move as fast as we can to implement new safety measures in our stores, and to get you the essential items you need.”

He said steps are being taken to help people keep their distance from one another while shopping, as well as dedicated shopping hours for seniors and frontline workers.

While Chiew noted some things can’t be controlled, one thing that can is how we treat one another.

“This is the time for us to stand up, help out our neighbours – especially our elders and seniors,” Chiew said in the video, adding, “be patient and kind to one another when shopping and, especially, patient and kind to our staff.”

This comes after a London Drugs store in Vancouver was cleared to re-open after someone who worked at the pharmacy tested positive for COVID-19.

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