AURORA, COLO. – Walmart has shut down one of its supercenters in Aurora after a 72-year-old associate and 69-year-old third-party contractor died from coronavirus (COVID-19). The associate’s husband also died from the virus.
An additional six other associates tested positive for the virus and three other employees who are awaiting test results are also experiencing symptoms of COVID-19. Walmart shut down the retail store after Aurora public health officials asked the grocer to shut down the store.
“Colorado has been hit especially hard by COVID-19, and several associates at this store have tested positive,” a Walmart spokesperson told CNN. “Sadly, one of our associates has passed away. The temporary closure will allow third-party cleaning experts to further clean and sanitize the store."
“We recognize how hard this is for our associates in Aurora and everyone impacted by this difficult situation. We want to do everything we can to support them at this time. We will continue to work closely with Tri-County Health Department and take additional steps as needed to re-open the store."
At other stores the company is continuing extensive use of safety precautions such as limiting the number of people allowed into stores at one time, installing Plexiglass barriers at checkout stands, taking workers’ temperatures before they start their shifts and requiring employees to wear masks while on the clock.
Across the United States, an estimated 41 grocery workers have died from COVID-19 and thousands more have tested positive for the virus. In mid-April The Kroger Co., Cincinnati, announced that four employees at four of its stores in Michigan—one of the hardest hit states by COVID-19—died from COVID-19.
Many grocers across the country including Kroger and Walmart have implemented “heroes pay,” adding onto the hourly pay of employee salaries or handing out bonuses for working on the frontlines during this unprecedented public health crisis.