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Jan. 27, 2022 | Thursday
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COVID-19: Valu-Mart owner has 'zero tolerance' for complaints about 30-customer limit
People lined up to get into Phil's Valu-Mart in Virgil on Saturday after the store started enforcingĀ a 30-person limit on customers in the store. (Richard Harley/Niagara Now)

People lined up outside the doors of Valu-Mart in Virgil on the weekend, as the grocery store implemented a policy of no more than 30 customers inside at a time, to help prevent the potential spread of COVID-19.

Valu-Mart franchise owner Phil Leboudec posted on Facebook that the store doesn’t want to hear people complain about it.

“As per guidance from Public Health, we will be limiting traffic in the store to 30 customers at a time,” Leboudec said. “We will have zero tolerance for complaints from people who might be unhappy with this limit and who knows (sic) that limit may lower as we go. I will certainly be monitoring what 30 people looks like and go from there.”

He also made it clear that anyone who has recently returned from being away should not bother to try and enter the store.

“If you have been away, do not come into the store if you have not quarantined for 14 days,” he said.

“We will be adding more protective measures for our cashiers similar to what was announced by other chains. The biggest things people can do is avoid paying with cash, just don’t bring reusable bags.”

Leboudec said a customer wash station arrived Saturday but was malfunctioning, so it will be in place on Monday.

Cory Abt, a friend of Leboudec who volunteered to manage the line Saturday, said he thinks it’s important for everyone to work together in helping prevent spread of the virus.

“Essentially, if everybody does their bit, then we’ll get through this much faster and everybody will be healthier for longer,” said Abt.

People were lining up about six feet away from each other. Abt said the store isn’t enforcing a policy of keeping six feet away during the line, but that people seemed to be doing so for themselves.

“We’re not enforcing that. We’re just making sure that there’s no more than 30 patrons in the store at any given time. But I think everybody else is self-monitoring and keeping a distance and taking care of that on their own for the most part.”

He said Saturday was the first day that the store limited people into the grocery store.

Leboudec said the store is also increasing capacity on its PC Express delivery service to accommodate more orders.

“Our operating hours are still 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and we are in pretty good supply, so no need to cause long lines outside as that actually defeats the whole purpose of social distancing,” he said.

“We had very good deliveries and we have staff, new staff, volunteers and friends working very hard to stock the shelves. Please be patient as we have many people helping that will definitely not be able to answer questions. Our goal is only to get the product out.”

He said anyone who wants to volunteer to deliver should either message him on Facebook or call the store at 905-468-3286.

On Sunday, Leboudec cheekily posted on Facebook that he “would not be offended in anyway if everyone took today as a nice day of rest and stayed home.”

“Enjoy your day,” he said.