Sunday, May 19, 2024

Concerns about Plexiglas prompt inspections at some Loblaws locations in Ottawa

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Inspections are underway at more than one Loblaws location in Ottawa after complaints were filed about tall Plexiglas barriers.


Loblaws says the Plexiglas barriers have been installed as part of its anti-theft measures.


“If somebody wants to steal something from a grocery store, they’re going to steal it anyway,” said shopper Gilles Lacasse. “I think it’s a waste of money. They don’t look nice. Almost like telling you not to go in there.”


Some shoppers have safety concerns with the configuration of the barriers including the height and width—often spanning for a long stretch before any gaps by the entrance and exit.


In a statement to CTV News Ottawa, Loblaw writes that “using Plexiglas partitions is a proven, industry-wide way to prevent theft and keep a convenient, welcoming customer experience.” The statement adds that the barriers are “fully compliant with all safety and regulatory plans.”


The Retail Council of Canada echoed concerns around rising theft.


“Retail theft has increased across all categories including food, apparel and footwear merchandise. Escalating inflation and a growing re-sale market for stolen goods are some of the contributors. But there is also an alarming trend of repeat offenders and people using violence to commit their crimes, along with an increase in organized retail crime groups,” it said in a statement. “Theft is often thought of as a victimless crime, but it’s not. It costs Canadian retailers billions of dollars a year – costs that are borne by all consumers when they go shopping. In addition to being frustrated by financial losses, business owners are concerned for the safety of their customers and employees.” 


Ottawa Fire Services confirms it is inspecting more than one location in the city.


“In this situation we would be assessing whether access to exits are being obstructed. And that is probably the main concern here,” said Jeff Herlihey, assistant division chief with Ottawa Fire Service’s prevention division.


“If a violation is found, with the requirements under the fire code, then we will address the deficiencies with the owner themselves. So, typically that’s through an inspection order.”


Shopper Louis Doyle adds “it’s definitely a barrier.”


“All in all, I think it’s maybe justified and it’s not a problem as far as I’m concerned. For me, personally, at least,” Doyle said.


Another shopper, Alex Richer adds that though there might be a reason for it, “it might not be all that necessary.”


“It’s a shame in this day and age that that has to be there,” said Heather Sawyer. “You know, that we prefer the way we used to be.”


  

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