Lowe’s COVID-19 situation causes law enforcement response, social media outcry

  • A social media firestorm started over the weekend when residents tried to shame a woman who they believed went into Lowe’s while infected with COVID-19.
    A social media firestorm started over the weekend when residents tried to shame a woman who they believed went into Lowe’s while infected with COVID-19.

   An incident at Lowe’s in Cornelia has caused a social media storm and local authorities to respond to complaints regarding a potential COVID-19 patient visiting the hardware store Saturday.
   “She had previously tested positive for COVID-19. Another subject in the store recognized her and began posting on social media from my understanding,” said Georgia State Patrol Post 7 Sgt. Chad Johnson said.
   GSP became involved because a call came into their communications center regarding the incident. The complainant was contacted by phone and gave the name of the subject.
   He and Habersham County Sheriff Joey Terrell declined to confirm the name of the subject. Someone who admitted to being the subject in question on social media did not respond to comment by The Northeast Georgian.
   Although the Sheriff’s Office posted that the Department of Homeland Security was notified, Johnson said they were not involved in any way.
   Johnson said the subject was close to the time frame that would be expired for somebody testing positive for COVID-19. GSP contacted her by phone and she was asked to count the 14 days since her positive test.
   “She violated nothing any different than anybody else violated than being at Lowe’s buying plants and mulch,” Johnson said.
   The CDC reports that if you will not have a test to determine if you are still contagious, you can leave home after these three things have happened. Per their website:
   • You have had no fever for at least 72 hours (that is three full days of no fever without the use medicine that reduces fevers); and other symptoms have improved (for example, when your cough or shortness of breath have improved); and at least seven days have passed since your symptoms first appeared.
   “It’s not like she was maliciously out there trying to spread the coronavirus…it had been several days since she had experienced her last symptom,” Johnson said that’s the only thing that would heighten the severity of this incident.
   Habersham Sheriff Joey Terrell and Johnson both said Lowe’s is doing everything in their power to provide proper social distancing and maintain good hygiene/sanitation. 
   According to an April 2 news release on Lowe’s web site such efforts include but are not limited to:
   · Making masks and gloves available to all associates in the workplace who want them;
   · Developed an app to implement a new customer limit protocol, available now on associates’ handheld devices. Each store manager can now monitor foot traffic and limit entrance based on CDC and local guidelines.
   · They are adding dedicated social distancing ambassadors who will be responsible for monitoring customer flow in garden centers and front-end areas and enforce customer limits to allow proper social distancing.
   The Northeast Georgian attempted to reach out to the Cornelia Lowe’s for comment but was unsuccessful.
   Both Johnson and Terrell stress the importance of only going to Lowe’s if you need to buy equipment for essential home repair.
   “To do home projects because we’re going to be at home and then catch up on the honey do-list…we’re not supposed to be doing that stuff,” Terrell said as a reason to go to Lowe’s. “That’s the big thing that people are not abiding by.”