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Sobeys operator in Niagara goes back to work after COVID-19 investigation

Town of Pelham councillor and Sobey's operator Ron Kore has returned to work at the Fonthill, Ont. store after a company investigation tied to the COVID-19 pandemic. Town of Pelham

A Sobeys franchisee who tested positive for COVID-19 in mid-April is going back to work at a Fonthill, Ont., store after an internal investigation and an apology.

In a statement on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Canada’s second-largest food retailer said partner and Pelham town councillor Ron Kore is being welcomed back as manager of the outlet on Highway 20 in Niagara.

“Sobeys has completed our investigation of the Fonthill Sobeys location,” said director of external communications Natasha Compton. “We took this investigation very seriously. Ron Kore, our franchisee partner, and his Fonthill Sobeys store team have been incredibly collaborative and supportive throughout the process.”

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Sobeys says Kore continued to work at the Fonthill store while experiencing flu-like symptoms in April before he tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

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The incident caught the attention of Pelham’s council and Niagara Regional Police on April 23, 2020, when the town released a statement about Kore’s alleged positive COVID-19 test result and impending police investigation.

A day after the town’s acknowledgment of Kore’s case, Niagara police called off their investigation saying a preliminary review determined a criminal inquiry was “not an appropriate course of action.”

It’s believed Kore was the second known case of a Pelham town councillor coming down with COVID-19.

In a post following the death of 51-year-old councillor Mike Ciolfi on April 12, the Voice of Pelham says the Ward 1 councillor admitted to the publication that he had tested positive for the new coronavirus. The cause of Ciolfi’s death has never been released publically.

 

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“The past few weeks have been difficult and eye-opening,” Kore said in his written apology. “I want to apologize for any unintended consequences my actions caused early on in this pandemic and the resulting stress and hurt it may have caused the community.”

Sobeys Compton says Kore has returned to work at the Fonthill store and that the franchise has adhered to “proper cleaning and sanitization standards” as per company protocols and public health recommendations.

No other cases of COVID-19 have been reported at the Fonthill operation, according to the company.

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

Health officials caution against all international travel. Returning travellers are legally obligated to self-isolate for 14 days, beginning March 26, in case they develop symptoms and to prevent spreading the virus to others. Some provinces and territories have also implemented additional recommendations or enforcement measures to ensure those returning to the area self-isolate.

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. They also recommend minimizing contact with others, staying home as much as possible and maintaining a distance of two metres from other people if you go out.

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

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