As the lockdown reached its third week, a private security company operating during this time has reached out to other essential service workers providing them with face masks and soap to help keep them protected from possible exposure to the coronavirus.
ZoneWatch Security director Christopher Blatherwick said they witnessed first-hand that essential service workers in their operational areas were not adequately protected.
“We have always believed that the mitigation of any risk should always be the driver in any actions that we take, and assisting our fellow essential service workers became a priority for our Zonewatch team. After extensive research, reading numerous articles, studies and feedback from frontline Covid-19 healthcare practitioners, it was clear that face masks not only mitigated the risk to the wearer but also reduced the possible risk of spreading the virus,” he said.
The basis of the project were two-fold – firstly to educate essential services workers about the coronavirus and how to lower their risk of contracting it, and providing them with tools (face masks and soap) to protect themselves, clients and loved once against the virus.
To date, they have distributed more than 950 masks to members of the South African Police Service, petrol attendants and other private security officers and planned to distribute another 800 packs by today, Thursday April 16.
Mr Blatherwick said they were distributing to workers in Pinelands, Thorton, Epping, Century City, Northgate Island, Parow, Bellville, Durbanville, and Stikland with the support of partners such as 3@1 Plattekloof and Sewing Sparrows.
During this time, the security company has had to make some adjustments of its own to ensure the safety of its workers, while continuing to ensure the security of its clients.
Mr Blatherwick said the staff needed to comply with new safety and protection standards such as wearing face masks and latex gloves and using alcohol-based hand sanitiser.
All staff are required to undergo a health screening when they report for duty.
Mr Blatherwick said they now found themselves wearing two hats – that of a community-based private security service provider and that of an educator.
“We have found that Covid-19 awareness is severely lacking in some spheres of society; some community members refuse to comply with the stipulations of the national lockdown.
“In contrast, others are unaware of ways and means of protecting themselves and others around them from the pandemic we are currently facing.”