Colorado Walmart store dies after employee and two others die from coronavirus

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A Walmart in Colorado was closed on Thursday after an outbreak of COVID-19 killed three people linked to the store amid complaints about a lack of social distancing in the store.

Officials at the Tri-County Health Department in Colorado announced the closure of the Walmart Supercenter at the 14000 East Exposition in Aurora after the death of an employee, a spouse and an independent contractor for the coronavirus.

The victims, who have not been publicly identified, include a 72-year-old Walmart staff member, her 63-year-old husband and a 69-year-old security provider.

Six other Walmart employees tested positive for COVID-19 and three other workers are awaiting laboratory results.

“We are extremely saddened by this news and offer our sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of the three people we have lost,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, executive director of the Tri-County Health Department in a statement.

Colorado-based Walmart closed on Thursday after employee, husband and COVID-19 security contractor were killed

Colorado-based Walmart closed on Thursday after employee, husband and COVID-19 security contractor were killed

“These deaths highlight the seriousness of the highly contagious coronavirus and the need to take diligent safety precautions to prevent further spread, including the wearing of masks. “

The department found that the Walmart Supercenter closed after employees and buyers complained of “lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at once, and employees not wearing masks or face cover ”.

An anonymous employee told The Denver Post that the store was full of customers and that it did not meet public health guidelines on Thursday.

‘It was terrible. There was no way we could be six feet apart. There were wall to wall people. They bombed at one point, “said the employee.

“We are only supposed to have a certain number of people inside, but we did not. It was too much, they were everywhere.

Employees and buyers complained about lack of 'social distancing' in Colorado store

Employees and buyers complained about lack of “social distancing” in Colorado store

The employee said that while masks are required from Walmart staff, some young workers at the Colorado store have waived the measure.

“Some of the young children, they were walking without them. Sometimes customers would come up and say, “Shouldn’t you be wearing your mask? “Or they would have it, but they would have it in their mouths,” they said.

Employees of retailers like Amazon have filed similar complaints and staged protests at warehouses across the country.

Gerard Tuzara, an Air Force veteran and director of operations, was the first Amazon employee to die from COVID-19 on March 31.

Pictured: Baby San cashier wears face shield and gloves when scanning items at Super Cao Nguyen grocery store in Oklahoma City due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.

Pictured: Baby San cashier wears face shield and gloves when scanning items at Super Cao Nguyen grocery store in Oklahoma City due to concerns about the COVID-19 virus.

Some stores have added plexiglass sneeze guards to cash registers to keep workers safe during the pandemic

Some stores have added plexiglass sneeze guards to cash registers to keep workers safe during the pandemic

At least 30 Amazon employees in a New Jersey warehouse have contracted COVID-19, making it the largest retail epidemic known to the retail giant.

In response to the deaths, a Walmart spokesperson said, “Colorado has been particularly affected by COVID-19, and several associates at this store have tested positive.

Gerard Tuzara was previously a US Air Force officer before starting work at Amazon

Gerard Tuzara was previously a US Air Force officer before starting work at Amazon

“Unfortunately, one of our associates has passed away. The temporary closure will allow third-party cleaning experts to further clean and disinfect the store. “

“We will continue to work closely with the Tri-County health department and take additional steps if necessary to reopen the store.”

Colorado has recorded 11,278 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 552 deaths.

Thursday, Sens. Cory Booker, Sherrod Brown, Richard Blumenthal and Kristen Gillibrand wrote a letter to Walmart CEO Doug McMillon asking the company to prioritize workers’ health over income.

“We are writing to you today to urge you to do more to prioritize the health, safety and well-being of your employees who are also our constituents, friends, family members and neighbors,” said they write.

The letter told Walmart employees who complained that the protective equipment provided by the company was “in short supply, of poor quality, and that gloves and masks were only available in sizes often too small for many workers who have to use their. ‘

Photo: Protesters gather outside Colorado State Capitol to protest coronavirus home stay orders at rally

Pictured: Protesters gather outside the Colorado State Capitol to protest coronavirus home stay orders at a “ReOpen Colorado” rally in Denver, Colorado last week

In the photo: a customer wears a face mask when he jumps out of his car and uses his mobile phone to make a video of the empty parking lot in front of a Walmart closed by the death of three people connected to the store after being infected with the new coronavirus

In the photo: a customer wears a face mask when he jumps out of his car and uses his mobile phone to make a video of the empty parking lot in front of a Walmart closed by the death of three people connected to the store after being infected with the new coronavirus

The letter also indicates that Walmart locations have not implemented the guarantees announced in a March 31 memorandum, such as regular temperature checks and the installation of Plexiglas shields in payment stations.

“Given the size of your business, any failure by Walmart to keep its workforce safe not only puts your employees at risk, it puts the whole country at risk,” the letter said.

Walmart did not disclose how many employees tested or died for COVID-19, but two employees from Evergreen Park, Illinois, died earlier this year from the disease.

Wando Evans, a 51-year-old night maintenance worker, died on March 25 after working for Walmart for 15 years.

Phillip Thomas, 48, died four days later, March 29, after nine years at the store. He was 49 on April 12.

Pictured: Wando Evans, 51

Pictured: Phillip Thomas, 49

(Left to right) Wando Evans and Phillip Thomas, two employees of an Evergreen Park Walmart, died of the coronavirus just four days apart

Both men suffered from underlying health conditions, Patch reported.

Walmart said that none of the employees had been in the Evergreen Park store “for more than a week.”

It is not known when the two men contracted COVID-19 or if it happened during their work.

Mayor Jim Sexton of Evergreen Park therefore suspended Walmart’s liquor license but reinstated it on Wednesday.

An investigation into the deaths of Evans and Thomas was opened after Sexton learned of the death of Chicago Ald. Matt O’Shea, who saw posts on Facebook about the deaths of the men.

In response, Walmart revised the cleaning efforts over the past week with a “third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health service inspection.”

This included decontamination of the main entrance, carts, registers, bathrooms and food areas.

“This is in addition to the cleaning measures that we have implemented in all the stores, including the installation of sneeze guards in the registers, the placing of social distancing stickers on the floors and the limitation of the number of customers in a store at some point, “the statement said.

“It seems they are trying to improve a bad situation,” said Sexton. “The store is now safe for workers and buyers. Everything will be changed now. ‘

In addition, Walmart has resolved the coronavirus crisis by placing social distancing markers around stores and installing plexiglass barriers in checkout aisles.

Walmart also said it had limited the number of customers allowed inside stores at the same time and started checking employee temperatures at the start of each shift.

The Washington Post reports that thousands of grocery workers across the country continue to work while 927,360 Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and 52,422 have died.

These figures include grocery store workers who complained that they did not have protective equipment – such as face masks and gloves – during work shifts. Dozens have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Experts said the influx of infections and deaths of employees could likely affect the grocers’ ability to maintain and add new staff.

Walmart, the United States’ largest private employer, has announced that it will hire 150,000 workers while Kroger will increase the workforce by 10,000.

Several grocers encourage potential workers with promises of masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and $ 2 more per hour.

But finding people ready to step onto the frontline of the minimum wage pandemic may not be enough to close the deal, said supermarket analyst Phil Lempert.

He said, “One of the biggest mistakes made by supermarkets at the start was not allowing employees to wear masks and gloves as they wanted. They are starting to be proactive now, but it will be even more difficult to hire hundreds of thousands of new workers.

“We’re going to start to see people say,” I’m just going to be unemployed instead of risking my life for a temporary job. “”

Analysts believe that clashes between employees and companies could become more serious as colleagues continue to fall ill.

As grocers try to navigate sales amid the COVID-19 crisis, some stores like Whole Foods and Kroger have started testing online shopping only.

Today, reports indicate that some Whole Foods stores in New York, San Francisco and Baltimore only accept online orders.

A Kroger site in Cincinnati, Ohio is testing curbside pickup.

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