The unnamed woman entered the small food chain Gerrity’s Supermarket in Hanover Township and began coughing up products, baked goods, meats and other goods, chain owner Joe Fasula wrote on Facebook.
Staff quickly removed her from the store and called Hanover Township Police, who found her a few hours later and took her into custody, Police Chief Albert Walker told CNN.
Hanover Township police said the woman “intentionally contaminated” the food, and they plan to file criminal charges against her when her mental health treatment is completed.
Officials do not believe she is infected with coronavirus but “will do anything to see that she is tested,”
; Fasula wrote.
Despite thinking about what she was doing as a “very twisted prank”, Fasula said the store threw out every item she came in contact with and worked with a local health inspector to identify and disinfect areas she entered.
In the end, he said, the store has sold food worth $ 35,000.
“I’m completely sick to the stomach of the loss of food,” Fasula said. “While it’s always a shame when food is wasted, in these times when so many people are worried about the security of our food supply, it’s even more worrying.”
It is not clear what fees the woman may receive when she leaves mental health care. But on Wednesday, the Ministry of Justice confirmed that people who deliberately spread the new coronavirus could be charged with terrorism.
Grocery stores brave pandemic
Coronavirus is changing the way grocery stores work. Stores like Gerritys are considered “essential companies” under the state’s resident order, so they are one of the few public places that residents of those states can visit during the pandemic.
But when customer visits to grocery stores are nailing and consumers continue to hoard supplies, industry groups fear that the US food supply will eventually dry up as well. A group representing brands such as PepsiCo and Clorox wrote to the Department of Foreign Affairs that buying panic along with countries that stopped exporting to the United States could exacerbate the public health crisis.
So stores like Gerrity take extra steps to make sure their stores are safe. Some chains have lost hours to disinfect the stores after closing and reselling deliveries that are quickly sold out. Others have increased security and installed police officers without guard or private guards to handle crowded corridors and jammed parking spaces.
The incident with the named woman at Gerrity’s showed employees why their strict security measures are necessary, Fasula wrote on Facebook.
“The only silver lining for this travesty is that it gave us the unfortunate opportunity to test our protocols and show how seriously we take your safety,” he said.