The incident occurred at Gerrity’s Supermarket in Hanover Township, where a woman entered the store around 2:20 pm and purposely coughed on fresh produce, in the bakery area, over a meat case, and in several other spots, resulting in all of the affected items having to be tossed.
Because of the Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19), the store couldn’t take any risks that the woman might have spread the germ over food that other people would later eat. So, the store’s co-owner made the decision to simply get rid of it for the protection of all customers.
According to a Facebook post from the store, the woman who committed this attempted act of biological violence against others is “[known] to be a chronic problem in the community.”
“While there is little doubt this woman was doing it as a very twisted prank, we will not take any chances with the health and well-being of our customers,” wrote Joe Fasula, the store’s co-owner, in a public post.
“We had no choice but to throw out all product she came in contact with,” he added.
After throwing away all potentially affected items, everything remaining in the area from the shelving to store displays was cleaned and disinfected. After restocking the cleaned shelves and spaces with fresh product, the store posted photos online and thanked those who worked hard to get the store back up and running.
“Although we have not yet quantified the total loss, we estimate the value to be well over $35,000,” Fasula added. “We are checking to see if our insurance company will cover it, but even if they do, our rates will surely go up next year.”
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Gerrity’s co-owner laments the loss of food during a time like this
Besides the financial loss, Fasula expressed mourning over the fact that so much food was lost, especially during a time when food shortages are already rearing their ugly head due to people buying out staple items at the grocery store in anticipation of disruptions due to the pandemic.
“I am also absolutely sick to my stomach about the loss of food,” Fasula wrote on social media. “While it is always a shame when food is wasted, in these times when so many people are worried about the security of our food supply, it is even more disturbing.”
Local police were contacted almost immediately following the incident, and as workers at the store were still trying to force the deranged woman out of the store for the safety of both customers and employees. Authorities say they’re planning to take aggressive action against the woman to ensure something like this never happens again.
“I would like to thank every member of our organization who pitched in today to help, especially those of you who came in on your day off and those who stayed late,” Fasula went on to state in his post, expressing gratitude for the good people in his community who helped to rectify the disturbing situation.
“I would also like to thank the people who will be going in early tomorrow to get the departments restocked. One thing is for sure, we will have the cleanest display and freshest produce anywhere in northeast PA.”
To keep up with the latest Wuhan coronavirus (COVID-19) news, be sure to check out Pandemic.news.
Sources for this article include: