Greater Victoria businesses choosing to go public with COVID-19 exposures facing backlash

Greater Victoria businesses choosing to go public with COVID-19 exposures facing backlash
WatchA number of businesses in Greater Victoria are facing backlash after going public with COVID-19 exposure cases over the last week. They did it voluntarily and the business community says the hate being directed at them is a troubling trend.

Over the last week, a number of businesses across Greater Victoria have gone public about staff members testing positive for COVID-19.

Restaurants like Mary’s Bleue Moon Cafe in Sidney, Il Falcone Restaurant in Courtenay and Cafe & Market at the Sidney Pier Hotel & Spa have had health alerts sent out by Island Health.

Island Health provides updates on the locations and times of known possible exposures to COVID-19 to the public in the region when they have been unable to reach or identify all individuals potentially exposed via contact tracing. A close contact exposure means face-to-face contact for an extended period of time with a person who is infectious.

And even though they didn’t have to as they weren’t listed as a possible public exposure, Twist Salon in Bear Mountain and Chatters Hair Salon in Langford went public online when an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

But some of the businesses who voluntarily went public say their businesses recently have been getting slammed. They are seeing angry social media posts and angry phone calls.

Others in their industry say it’s a concerning trend for businesses trying to just stay transparent

“No one deserves that, they are already struggling hard right now,” said Natalie Grunberg-Ferreira, co-owner of the Natural Hair Salon in downtown Victoria.

“Business owners want to be transparent and want to show they have integrity, so I understand why these business owners shared their news, and I supposed they didn’t have to, they’re following the correct protocols. sometimes you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.”

The BC Centre for Disease Control says public exposure information is only released by regional health authorities in cases where not everyone can be reached through contact tracing.

“Some are choosing to go public because they think its the responsible thing to do,” said Bruce Williams, Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce CEO.

“They want to be good citizens, they want to be good people. They want to make sure they are transparent about that stuff. It’s unfortunate some people are creeping on them for that kind of stuff.”

Grunberg-Ferreira wants to assure others that her industry has been operating safely and is even taking extra steps following the two incidents and concerning trends among younger groups.

“This could have happened to anyone. We are a salon family, so I’ve basically asked all my staff to not attend parties,” she said.

Other steps include potential temperature checks and more questions on patrons and their symptoms and previous travel.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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