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Poundstretcher staff in Chatham make own plastic and cardboard shields to protect from coronavirus

Staff at a bargain store have had to make their own makeshift personal protective equipment (PPE) with cardboard and plastic to combat coronavirus.

Workers at Poundstretcher, based at Chatham Dockside, have assembled two small shields, placed at the tills, to try and stop the spread of Covid-19.

Staff at Poundstretcher in Chatham Dockside have been forced to make their own makeshift PPE shields
Staff at Poundstretcher in Chatham Dockside have been forced to make their own makeshift PPE shields

There are only two shields between the tills and staff have been told the company has ordered some proper PPE to protect them.

People working at the tills and interacting with customers also have hand sanitser to clean their hands with.

A member of staff at the store said: "We've had to make these ourselves with cardboard and plastic otherwise we'd have nothing.

"We've been told some proper shields are being ordered in, but we don't know when they'll be here."

Poundstretcher said it was shocked to hear about the DIY shields and said thousands of protective masks had been sent to employees.

These are the masks Poundstretcher claim were sent out to their stores. Picture: Poundstretcher
These are the masks Poundstretcher claim were sent out to their stores. Picture: Poundstretcher

When visiting the Chatham store no members of staff were wearing them.

Health and safety officer for the company Gina Hallam said: “We were surprised and disappointed to hear of employees having to make their own personal protective equipment.

"More than 9,000 face shield protective isolation masks have been distributed to stores, including the store at Chatham, and there is absolutely no shortage of personal protection equipment.

"These offer protection from airborne droplets and limit the impact of coughs and sneezes by providing a physical barrier. They have a foam headband for comfort and an elastic strap. The face shields are identical to the ones used by the NHS.

"All stores receive regular weekly health and safety communication with contact details of the Health and Safety Department. Had the store notified Health and Safety or their area manager of any shortage or concerns these would have been rectified immediately.

The tills at Poundstretcher, in Chatham Dockside, with makeshift shields at tills
The tills at Poundstretcher, in Chatham Dockside, with makeshift shields at tills

"We take the safety of our employees and customers very seriously and the provision of personal protective equipment is just one of a wide range of control measures we have in place to ensure that our stores are Covid secure.

"Our health and safety officer and area manager will visit the store tomorrow to ensure that all the control measures necessary are in place.

"The store will also tomorrow be provided with professionally constructed till screens. These are on order for all stores and are in the process of being rolled out to stores."

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