Hygiene measures banning health workers in uniform from shopping at Preston store brings mixed reaction
Health workers are being barred from shopping at a supermarket unless they change out of their uniforms, and readers have expressed their opinions about the situation.
The Booths grocery chain is refusing to serve staff in "scrubs" or nursing tunics over fears they could spread coronavirus.
One care worker, who had been visiting elderly people in their homes in Fulwood, was forced to miss her lunch after being turned away at the door when she tried to buy a sandwich.
"It was embarrassing and upsetting," said Joe Ann Whittaker. "What was I supposed to do, get changed in the car park?
"The security man could have asked someone to get me the sandwich while I waited outside. But he didn't. He just said 'you can't come in.'
"We're working long hours at the moment in very difficult circumstances and we don't have the time to get changed.
"We only get a half hour break for lunch. And there's no way I'm taking my clothes off in a supermarket car park."
Booths issued a statement saying it was following NHS guidelines and safety protocols issued by the Royal Preston Hospital.
It said: "These are unprecedented times and like many others, Booths is working hard to serve customers and communities whilst protecting the health and welfare of all our colleagues and customers.
"It is hugely regrettable that the health worker felt unappreciated at this time, please be reassured that this is far from the case.
"The team at Booths values the enormous contribution of all health workers, particularly at this very critical time for the country.
"However, Booths do need to stress the vital importance of good hygiene practices and ask that all health workers wear civilian clothes when in store."
We've received nearly 600 comments from readers so far who have shared their own opinions about the situation online.
Here is what some of them had to say.
One reader, who is also a healthcare worker, said: "I wont be shopping in Booths ever again! I'm a healthcare worker. What about community nurses, home carers and paramedics who all wear uniforms? Also, has anyone considered any other uniformed person that has been in contact with the general public?"
One person, who believed the situation could have been handled differently, replied: "It would have been a good gesture to ask if they could help by getting the goods and paying contactless."
Another commented: "Disgusting Booths. You make a fortune out of people visiting the hospital. You should be more sympathetic towards NHS staff."
However, some people have supported Booths and their decision, stating that wearing a uniform outside of work is "unhygienic."
One retired nurse expressed how wearing a uniform may spread "all sorts of bugs."
"Both my wife and I were nurses. We would never have been allowed to wear uniform whilst shopping," they stated.
"It was unhygienic before this particularly nasty virus, and even more so now. All nurses get exposed to all sorts of bugs whilst at work. They should not be taken into any kind of shop, particularly one selling food.
"It is a tough thing to have to do, but Booths are absolutely right."
Another hospital worker commented: "At the hospital we have to go to work in our normal clothes and get changed into our uniform there, even if we travel by car.
"We are absolutely not allowed to nip over to Booths or anywhere in our uniform, so we just need to make sure we bring enough food, or be prepared to get changed.
"Inconvenient but necessary. Nothing about any of this is ideal but we have to adapt."
Another reader, who agreed with Booths, said: "I have to say I agree with it, I’ve always said hospital staff should not wear there uniform outside of work if only to protect the patients.
"Food handlers etc. are not allowed to wear there uniform outdoors there must be a reason.
"And as they are literally on the on the front line they should be just as concerned about the general public as they are about themselves."
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