Fair Food warehouse, packing
And we wait

Wednesday morning as Lockdown Six dragged into its second week Hema Gurung, Fair Food’s Production Manager, broke the news.

Jass, a packer at Fair Food, had just got a text – she’d visited a Tier One site on Friday.

If she tests positive everyone who’s been to Fair Food since Saturday will be sent home to isolate for 14 days.

Two hours later on an emergency Zoom, Fair Food managers and supervisors go over the procedure if Jass has COVID.

There’s notifications to the CERES CEO and Board, the Health Department, WorkSafe, our staff, our farmers and makers, our customers and on and on it goes.

If we get a positive result early our cleaner Mark and his team can do an overnight deep clean and have the warehouse ready to go at 4am tomorrow morning.

A replacement produce buyer is standing by to go to the wholesale market at 2am in place of Josh Arzt.

The B Team, made up of Fair Food staff working from home, admin staff from CERES Brunswick East and a few Fair Food old timers, will come in and pack and deliver orders for the next fortnight.

If the results don’t come until early tomorrow, Customer Service manager, Richelle Carroll, will cancel and help people reschedule around 300 orders.

Whatever the scenario, the marketing team are putting together emails, SMS’s and social media posts to cover it.

Meanwhile Hema is checking in to make sure Jass is okay.

At the end of the meeting Jass messages – she’s still in line at a testing station.

Jass tells the testers she works in food distribution and asks if her results can be fast-tracked.

They say they’ll do their best – if all goes well her results will come by nine pm that night.

The day finishes and we all wait at home.

Fair Food’s Whatsapp channel is quiet.  A grinding tension sets in.

Nine pm comes, no word…. Ten pm, nothing…. Eleven pm, nothing.

At two am with no news, produce buyer, Josh Arzt, heads off to Epping market.

Next morning Jass hasn’t heard anything.  People have hardly slept.

The packing shift begins.

Everyone is hoping Jass stays symptom free.

The morning drags on.

If a positive comes through now orders are cancelled, everyone goes home, the cleaners do their work and the B Team starts fresh tomorrow.

Throughout the morning texts and calls flood in asking for news.  There’s none to give.

Drivers arrive and deliveries begin going out.

On the team Whatsapp people working from home are praying for a result.

The packing crew finish up and once again everyone, eyes dry from lack of sleep, sit at home. 

Another sleepless night awaits.

And then it comes –  a text forwarded from VCS Pathology. 

“Negative” is suddenly the sweetest word anyone has ever heard.

And just like that, two never-ending days close with a continuous stream of whooping, Whatsapp messages and then quiet….

Have a great week



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