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Two NYC Whole Foods Employees Test Positive for Coronavirus, Stores Remain Open

An employee at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods has coronavirus.

by Lauren Kaori Gurley
Mar 20 2020, 1:25am

Image: Bloomberg / Contributor

UPDATE: Amazon confirmed to Motherboard on Friday that a second Whole Food employee in New York City tested positive for coronavirus at the Bryant Park Whole Foods location in Manhattan. The grocery store closed early for a deep cleaning on Thursday but reopened on Friday.

The original story follows below

A Whole Foods employee in New York City tested positive for coronavirus Wednesday, the company confirmed to Motherboard.

The Columbus Circle Whole Foods store where the employee worked has remained open to customers. Motherboard has previously reported that Whole Foods employees have been worried about contracting the virus and have faced an increased workload and pressure as people stockpile food while coronavirus spreads.

"A Team Member in our Columbus Circle, New York City location tested positive for COVID-19. We are working closely with our store Team Members and supporting the diagnosed Team Member, who is in quarantine," a Whole Foods spokesperson said. "Out of an abundance of caution, we closed the store early yesterday to perform an additional cleaning and disinfection, on top of our current enhanced sanitation measures."

On Wednesday, Amazon confirmed its first case of novel coronavirus at a warehouse in the United States, after workers walked off the shift and demanded management shut down a facility in Queens.

In recent days, Whole Foods workers at grocery stores across the country say the store has experienced record sales and product shortages, while workers told Motherboard they are overworked, stressed, and in some instances forced to work while sick.

The health food giant has offered its employees two weeks of paid sick leave only if they test positive for Covid-19, and has increased wages for hourly employees by $2 an hour, policies enacted by Amazon for all of its employees and contractors.

"The safety of our Team Members and customers is our top priority and we are following all guidance from local health authorities," the Whole Foods spokesperson said.