Concerned mother calls on local restaurant to be more transparent

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NORTH AUGUSTA, SC (WJBF) – As the infection rate increases, it no doubt impacts people in the workplace.

One South Carolina family is calling for more transparency after a case hit close to home in the workplace.

We’ve heard it throughout the pandemic. Friends, family or even co-workers tell us they have tested positive for COVID-19. But one South Carolina family said the news did not come how they expected it.

“My daughter mentioned that one of her co-workers, they basically had just started around the same time. She hadn’t been there for awhile and she just found out that she had COVID,” said Merrill Powell, a concerned mother of a 17-year-old girl who works at a North Augusta Bojangles.

She said she found out last week someone tested positive. And she learned a day ago a second person tested positive. She claims neither time was she told by management that she was possibly exposed to the virus.

“They overheard the shift manager complaining about the situation,” Powell explained. “They were never informed directly. If you go back and check their schedules, there is proof that they worked together when this individual tested positive.”

Powell said her daughter shares a headset with that person. She said she started the job back in September with the understanding that since it was drive thru only, there would be less exposure.

She added, “That window where they work is a three foot space. It’s like three or four of them within a couple of inches of each other.”

Powell said when her daughter is not at work, she’s at school twice a week. But the communication there is different.

“Whenever someone in her vicinity test positive, the school system calls us, email us and they send us a message to let us know that someone in her class did test positive, but she’s not a close contact. I’m just looking at the two situations and there is a vast difference there,” she said.

All Powell said she wants is for a better COVID-19 practice and more transparency at her daughter’s job.

We took her concerns to Bojangles Corporate and they issued this statement in response:

Every precautionary measure has been taken to ensure the well-being of team members and guests. The safety of our team members and guests remains our top priority as we navigate this extraordinary health crisis.

Bojangles of Western North Carolina restaurants maintains a work environment that already focuses heavily on cleanliness standards and good handwashing techniques. We have installed plexiglass shields in our restaurants, and all team members are wearing masks and gloves to protect themselves and guests. All our team members must complete a health assessment prior to beginning each shift, and we are strictly prohibiting sick employees from reporting to work.

We continually evaluate the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), local health officials, and appropriate governmental offices to inform restaurant decisions. Our restaurants’ protocols are deep cleaned, sanitized, and professionally disinfected after a confirmed case.

Allyson Campbell | Director of Marketing
Bojangles of Western North Carolina and Tennessee,LLC

When we inquired about whether there is a hard fast number of positive employees it takes to close a store, Campbell replied no there isn’t. Every situation is unique.

Powell said her family, which includes three other children, is playing it safe.

“I have the saliva kit test that I’m going to let her get as well just so that we can make sure that if she has been exposed that she does not have it,” she said.

The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce has a document on its website to help businesses move forward with COVID. It includes communicating with local authorities and employees on a regulate basis. Click here to see that document.

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