As grocery stores are classified "essential" during the coronavirus pandemic, their workers may be exposed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, and the nation is starting to see just that. In three states, Trader Joe's has temporarily closed several stores amid coronavirus concerns so they can be cleaned and restocked after employees tested positive and reported symptoms.
Earlier this week, Trader Joe's announced it would be temporarily closing certain stores in three states: Maryland, New Jersey, and New York. According to the grocery store chain, a number of employees in the affected stores had tested positive for the coronavirus, while others reported symptoms related to COVID-19 and others are receiving medical attention for suspected cases. "As soon as the store has been fully cleaned and restocked, we plan to reopen," an announcement on Trader Joe's website reads.
The following stores in the following states are temporarily closed for cleaning and restocking:
- Elkridge, Maryland — Trader Joe's on 6610 Marie Curie Drive
- Millburn, New Jersey — Trader Joe's on 187 Millburn Avenue
- Florham Park, New Jersey — Trader Joe's on 176 Columbia Turnpike
- NYC, New York — Trader Joe's on 142 E 14th Street and Wine Store on 138 E 14th Street
- NYC (SoHo), New York — Trader Joe's on 233 Spring Street
- NYC (Chelsea), New York — Trader Joe's on 675 6th Street
"We are connecting with all Crew Members at the respective locations, encouraging anyone who may have come in contact to follow CDC-recommended self-monitoring guidelines and to call their healthcare providers right away if they develop any symptoms," the statement continues. "While the store is closed, Trader Joe's will be paying all Crew Members for their scheduled shifts."
Trader Joe's stores that are not closed are taking further measures to ensure that their customers and employees stay protected. Stores are now open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. to support Crew Members, they have gotten rid of free samples, and are increasing routine cleaning. Stores are also giving priority to seniors, who are at higher risk of severe illness, during the first hour after opening to "help make their experience a more positive one".
If you think you’re showing symptoms of coronavirus, which include fever, shortness of breath, and cough, call your doctor before going to get tested. If you’re anxious about the virus’s spread in your community, visit the CDC for up-to-date information and resources, or seek out mental health support. You can find all of Romper’s parents + coronavirus coverage here, and Bustle’s constantly updated, general “what to know about coronavirus” here.