By Lulu Brenda Harris and Tanaka Mrewa
Several employees at the listed leading fast-food chain, Simbisa Brands, in Bulawayo have reportedly tested for Covid-19 amid reports the issue is being kept under wraps by the management.
Simbisa, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Innscor, runs Chicken Inn, Pizza Inn, Creamy Inn, Bakers Inn, Fish Inn, Haefelis and franchises such as Nandos and Steers.
The affected include management, heads of department, all the way down to chefs and other support staff.
However, all the food outlets in the city are still operational.
According to insiders, the company has been sending its workers from different branches for Covid-19 tests since Wednesday and results show several are positive.
“Chefs, managers to the staff and head of departments at head office were found to be positive for Covid-19,” sources revealed.
“At the Head Office by Fort Street, there is information that the receptionist, head of human resources department, a member of the human resources department, an accountant and several members of the banking department also tested positive. Haefelis opened a little late Wednesday, because most of the staff members had tested positive.”
Insiders said the outbreak has scared employees, as they were afraid they could pass on the virus to their immediate family members and customers.
“Another concern was that the staff now had to make sure their family members were tested as well and were realising how widespread infections could be if clients were factored in too,” said the sources.
Contacted for a comment, Acting Provincial Medical Director for Bulawayo, Dr Welcome Mlilo, said he was waiting for an update on the matter from the city’s Rapid Response Team.
“I don’t have the information pertaining to your inquiry as yet but I have contacted the coordinator of the rapid response team,” he said.
Simbisa Brands managing director Warren Meares did not respond to inquiries made by the publication despite several phone calls and text messages sent to him.
Sources said what was worrying was that employees were instructed not to disclose the matter.
“Since several staff have been found positive, this puts other shops at risk and clients included. Staff were instructed not to say a word about it or else they risk not being paid if the outlets closed,” they alleged.
“More tests are still being conducted and those who have received theirs are told not to share them with anyone.”