A locally owned grocery store in Pennsylvania just had to throw away $35,000 worth of goods because a woman had intentionally coughed all over several cases of food.
A woman who has yet to be identified walked into Gerrity’s Supermarket in Hanover Township on Wednesday and proceeded to intentionally cough all over the produce, bakery, and meat case. Police were immediately called by store employees, who then teamed up with members of the Hanover Township’s health department to furiously clean the store as much as they could.
Joe Fasula, the owner of the chain, wrote about the incident in a Facebook post that has since gone viral.
“Today was a very challenging day,” he wrote. “At 2:20 PM today, I got a call from our Hanover Township store. The manager informed me that a ￼woman, who the police know to be a chronic problem in the community, came in to the store and proceeded to purposely cough on our fresh produce, and a small section of our bakery, meat case and grocery.”
“While there is little doubt this woman was doing it as a￼ very twisted prank, we will not take any chances with the health and well-being of our customers,” Fasula continued. “We ￼had no choice but to throw out all product she came in contact with. Working closely with the Hanover Township health inspector, we identified every area that she was in, we disposed of the product and thoroughly cleaned and disinfected everything.”
Fasula went on to say that it is estimated that the total product loss is around $35,000.
“I am also absolutely sick to my stomach about the loss of food,” he added. “While it is always a shame when food is wasted, in these times when so many people are worried about the security of our food supply, it is even more disturbing.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼”
He also said that the local district attorney will be “aggressively pursuing numerous charges” against the woman, who is not believed to be infected with COVID-19.
“I would like to thank every member of our organization who pitched in today to help, especially those of you who came in on your day off and those who stayed late,” he concluded. “I would also like to thank the people who will going in early tomorrow to get the departments restocked. One thing is for sure, we will have the cleanest display and freshest produce anywhere in northeast PA.”
The woman’s mental state is currently being evaluated at a hospital, according to WNEP-TV.
Incidents like this one are unfortunately becoming increasingly common all over the country. Last week, the Purcellville Police Department in Virginia revealed that a group of teenagers had coughed all over the food section at a local store.
“Yesterday, March 18, 2020, an incident occurred at a local grocery store involving juveniles reportedly coughing on produce, while filming themselves and posting it on social media,” the department wrote on Facebook. “Police responded and are currently investigating the incident. The grocery store immediately removed the items in question, and has taken appropriate measures to ensure the health of store patrons.”
We truly are living in some wild times. Businesses are already struggling enough right now given everything going on, so these incidents are the last thing that they need. Anyone who thinks it’s “funny” to cough over produce really does belong in prison.