By Sue Tiffin
When a post on McFadden’s Meat Market social media page on Aug.4 alerted customers that the store would temporarily close due to possible exposure to someone with COVID-19, the responses came quickly – and unlike the eventual results of the COVID-19 test, the comments were positive.
“Thank you for your transparency,” said one. “You are modelling such ethical responsibility.”
“Thank you for looking after our community,” said another.
“I’ll have to buy twice as much next time I’m in,” said another.
McFadden was overwhelmed with the community support. His team had posted that they were made aware after the long weekend that someone they knew had come into contact with someone with a possible positive case of COVID-19.
“Although it is a very low chance that we have come into contact with it, we have no choice but to close until the results come in,” read the post. “Our safety, customers’ safety and delivery personnel safety always comes first.”
McFadden said that he had had a “nice weekend away after a heck of a long month,” taking precautions while camping with friends, but upon returning, heard from a friend he had been with that they had learned after the weekend they had possibly been exposed to the virus prior to the getaway. McFadden said he felt terrible that he had already had staff into the store at that point to clean after the weekend, as well as a delivery person for a drop-off but was relieved to find out early enough to quickly cancel all orders that were set to come in that day.
“Three different transport trucks were on their way and I just called the company and said look, if this is true, I don’t want to be the one that shuts your company down as well, and that puts a strain on other businesses … I don’t know if this is serious, if it’s a false alarm, but I just can’t take that chance.”
McFadden said it was a waiting game until the results of the direct contact and those in the group who were tested came back negative.
“It was great news, but it just shows you the snowball effect this can have,” said McFadden, of the possibility of people unintentionally carrying the virus throughout the community. “You don’t realize how quickly this can spread.”
McFadden’s choice to be honest with the public despite possible stigma came easily, he said, noting he had worked hard to make his business what it is, was a trusted small business in the community and that years of diligence could have been quickly tarnished if he wasn’t forthcoming. The lost income during the closure was a small price to pay, he said, to ensure safety of those in the community who could be most affected by the virus.
“We’re dealing with this as a community, as a country and we’re going to have to make the best of it,” he said.