Saskatoon business owner says customer, ignoring coronavirus guidelines, forced closure

A Saskatoon business has temporarily closed its doors after the owner says a customer came in a day after taking an international flight.

Staff at the Sangster’s supplement store in Lawson Heights Mall were off work starting Thursday, advised to stay home until April 2.

Health Canada recommends people who have travelled outside of the country self-isolate for 14 days after returning.

The customer told staff she chose not to self-isolate after coming home because she didn’t have any COVID-19 symptoms, though some of the people she travelled with hadn’t been feeling well, Haines said.

Despite not knowing whether the customer had been exposed to the novel coronavirus, Haines said she felt anxious when she heard what happened.

“We have immunocompromised people that come to see us.”

Staff contacted people who had been in the store within an hour of the customer’s visit, Haines said.

Lawson Heights Mall, which denied comment, and the Saskatchewan Health Authority were made aware of what happened, she said.

Haines said this could have been avoided had the customer heeded advice from health and government officials across the country.

“Your gut wants to say they should be fined or they should be charged with something, but we just want to make sure that everyone’s healthy and safe,” she said.

Saskatchewan’s chief medical health officer said the province isn’t considering penalties for people who don’t follow self-isolation recommendations.

“You certainly shouldn’t go into a crowded situation even if you’re feeling fine and you’re asymptomatic.”

As of Thursday, Saskatchewan had eight confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 12 presumptive cases.

Questions about COVID-19? Here are some things you need to know:

Health officials say the risk is low for Canadians but warn this could change quickly. They caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are asked to self-isolate for 14 days in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others.

Symptoms can include fever, cough and difficulty breathing — very similar to a cold or flu. Some people can develop a more severe illness. People most at risk of this include older adults and people with severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease. If you develop symptoms, contact public health authorities.

To prevent the virus from spreading, experts recommend frequent handwashing and coughing into your sleeve. And if you get sick, stay at home.

For full COVID-19 coverage from Global News, click here.

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