Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Longford/Westmeath Deputy, Robert Troy, has appealed to retailers not to use the COVID-19 crisis as an excuse to take advantage of consumers.
Deputy Troy said it is unacceptable that some pharmacies and retailers in the country have already hiked prices on items such as disinfectant and hand sanitiser and said that other retailer must not follow suit as people purchase basic necessities.
“As the COVID-19 crisis continues and measures to protect ourselves step up, people are very worried. We must continue to listen to the advice of our medical experts and ensure proper hand hygiene and cough etiquette and take the necessary steps to prevent the spread of the virus.
“It’s very disappointing to see some retailers take advantage of such a serious situation and trying to rip people off is not helping matters at all. It is time for people to look after one another,” Deputy Troy commented.
Supermarket health and safety measures
Meanwhile, Deputy Troy has called upon all supermarkets to implement health and safety measures to protect their employees and customers from COVID-19.
Deputy Troy said that while other businesses close, supermarkets would be expected to remain open. He said that they must ensure the safety of their employees as well as customers.
“People working in supermarkets at the moment are also at the front line of this pandemic. The risk to them and to their families is significant.
“Some supermarkets have taken the initiative and are taking steps to look after their more vulnerable and elderly customers – it’s wonderful to see and I would hope that all supermarkets follow suit.
“But they need to implement measures to look after their own employees too. In the first instance all shops should ensure the safe distancing guidelines advised by the HSE are adhered to. Customer quotas and the staggering of customers into any shop should be examined. We cannot have a situation where people are congregating in supermarkets.
“Hand sanitiser and gloves should be available for staff and customers where possible and all surfaces should be disinfected regularly. Any individual food items should be wrapped and no food items should be left out uncovered.
“I understand that Retail Excellence Ireland (REI ) have requested working guidelines for essential and non-essential employees. They have sought guidance from European counterparts and shared it with Government.
“They need the Government and the HSE to issue clear and concise guidelines in a similar manner to the Icelandic authorities who issued official instructions on Saturday.
“Finally, I would also call on all shoppers to remember that we have very robust supply chains. There is no reason to stockpile but there are plenty of reasons not to,” Deputy Troy concluded.