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Coronavirus Australia: Cleaners in PPE eat with gloves on

A photo has emerged online showing coronavirus cleaners using their phones and possibly even eating with the same gloves they wore to disinfect an infected bakery. 

The crew was photographed in full personal protective equipment outside the Bakers Delight store in Mernda in Melbourne’s north-east earlier this week.

A staff member at the bakery chain was diagnosed with COVID-19 on Monday, triggering the store’s temporary closure and industrial scale cleaning.

The image has sparked horror and outrage after being shared on social media. 

‘Bakers Delight Mernda coronavirus cleaners using their phones and eating with the same gloves used to clean the bakery,’ the caption read.

The photo shows six cleaners gathering around the courtyard outside the bakery wearing their full PPE.

Several of staff members appear to have their hands near their face including one who appears to be eating or drinking.

The image sparked fear and revulsion among the community. 

‘This is how you get community spread! No social distancing either, and masks pulled down,’ one local woman wrote.

‘You shouldn’t wear anything you have cleaned wearing including those suits. They should take off before leaving area,’ another said.  

But most leapt to the defence of the cleaners and criticised the photographer.

‘Seriously people will find anything to complain about. These people are cleaners so there gloves would be covered in cleaning products which is designed to kill germs,’ one woman argued.

‘A reported case at a location does not mean the whole place is infected it’s just a precaution, it’s a bakery that is cleaned every day,’ another said.

The bakery confirmed the store had been closed for cleaning after a positive diagnosis among staff. 

‘To our loyal customers – yesterday we were informed that a team member at our Mernda bakery has tested positive to COVID-19,’ the store wrote on Facebook.

‘The team member last worked on Tuesday, 4 August and the bakery was closed as soon as we were notified of the test results. Both the team member and those who have recently worked with them are now in isolation.

‘We already have very high cleaning and hygiene processes in place but as an extra precaution, the bakery will undergo a professional deep clean today.

‘As always, the safety of our customers, team members and wider community is our priority and we are taking advice from the Department Health and Human Services to ensure we can safely reopen soon.’

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