COVID-19: Prince Albert woman who brought son to Safeway says she’s 'in shock' after being turned away
SASKATOON -- A Prince Albert woman says she and her son were turned away from shopping at her local Safeway as part of a pandemic policy.
Shannon Halpenny is a single mom to her eight-year-old son, Beyla.
On Wednesday evening, they both went to Safeway to pick up some milk. When they walked in the first set of doors, where the carts are stored, Halpenny says a man told her they would have to shop somewhere else because they only allow one person per household to protect against COVID-19.
Halpenny believes the man was the manager. She said he wasn’t wearing a mask.
"I was in tears when we left the store. It was just a really humiliating experience to have that happen in front of a number of people and be treated in that way. I was in shock,” she said.
Halpenny said she’s a long-time customer at the Prince Albert Safeway. That’s where she pre-ordered Beyla’s birthday cake and had to have a friend pick it up for her.
She said she knows one of the cashiers at Safeway, and always takes Beyla to go through her till. That won’t be happening in the near future, though.
"It's been really disappointing. I've shopped there for almost 19 years. It's our go-to place for groceries and I really don't want to set foot in that store until this situation is rectified,” said Halpenny.
The Prince Albert Safeway manager, Wes Erlendson, said allowing only one person per family is not the store’s policy. He declined to comment further, saying he will discuss concerns with the customers who bring them forward, but not to media.
Sobeys Inc., Safeway’s parent company, provided a statement to CTV News.
“While we recommend that families have one designated shopper, we understand that this is not always possible for everyone. Please know, we will not turn anyone away,” it reads.
“The health and safety of our customers, teammates and suppliers is our top priority. We adhere closely to all Public Health guidelines, and our rigorous sanitation protocols are in place.”
Halpenny said she sent a complaint to Sobeys Inc. She said she spoke to the regional manager, who said he spoke to Erlendson on the matter.
Erlendson wants to speak about it with Halpenny, she said, but she’s not ready for that. The situation is still weighing on her.
“I would like to see, perhaps, some training on how to treat people, how to interact with customers,” she said.
She also wants more education on wearing masks and protecting the public from COVID-19.
Halpenny encourages people to report any negative experiences they’ve dealt with in hopes that people won’t face similar barriers.
She said she’s always had good experiences with the store, however, making this situation “extra upsetting.”