Online Grocer Takes Steps to Protect Clients from SARS

TORONTO - Grocery Gateway Inc., an online grocer based here, is responding to fears over the spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) by ordering its drivers to wear gloves and forbidding them from entering customers' homes.

In an e-mail sent to thousands of clients yesterday, the company also said drivers will use alcohol wipes to disinfect their portable payment terminals, when asked, while the grocer's usual pre-arrival call will include a question about whether anyone in the home is under quarantine because of exposure to the deadly respiratory illness.

If so, Grocery Gateway said it reserves the right to collect payment over the phone, leave food boxes at a customer's front door instead of bringing them inside, or even cancel the order.

"Like you, we're concerned about the sudden and rapid spread of SARS throughout our community which has many people concerned about going to crowded, public places," the e-mail read. "We've researched precautions, spoken with Health Canada, and have instituted steps to help protect our staff and the public from possible contamination."
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