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Stop & Shop, Shaw's Say Employees Have Tested Positive For Coronavirus

A customer wearing protective gloves and a face mask selects a cart outside a supermarket. (John Minchillo/AP)
A customer wearing protective gloves and a face mask selects a cart outside a supermarket. (John Minchillo/AP)

A number of grocery store employees are among the Massachusetts residents who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Following an inquiry from WBUR, the grocery chains Stop & Shop and Shaw's confirmed that some of their employees have tested positive for the virus. In addition, local television station WBZ reported that an employee at Market Basket in Chelmsford had tested positive.

Teresa Edington, a spokeswoman for Shaw's, said the reported cases come from two stores, in Hyde Park and Easton. Employees at three of its New Hampshire locations have also tested positive, Eddington said. Those cases involve stores in Dover, Littleton and Woodsville.

"Even though a store goes through multiple, daily cycles of enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting every day," the company told WBUR in statement, "If we learn that an associate has been diagnosed with COVID-19, we conduct additional thorough cleaning and disinfection."

Shaw's did not respond to questions about whether the affected employees would be receiving paid sick leave. The company also declined to say precisely how many employees had tested positive so far.

Quincy-based Stop & Shop said most of the positive test results among its employees come from the New York metro area. The company operates stores in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Rhode Island.

Stop & Shop declined to provide the exact number of employees who have tested positive for the coronavirus to date. When asked, Jennifer Brogan, a spokeswoman for Stop & Shop, said that the situation is "fluid" and therefore "we’re not going to provide that.”

"In each of these cases, Stop & Shop moved quickly to notify local health authorities and to notify associates who may have been in close contact with those who were diagnosed," Brogan wrote in an email. "We also took the necessary precautions to deep clean and sanitize the affected stores fully. The associates are recovering at home and will not return to work until cleared by public health officials as no longer contagious for COVID-19."

The affected employees receive a mandatory 14 days of paid time off, Brogan said, adding that the company is "committed to doing everything possible to protect the health and safety of our associates and customers and to continue to provide the much needed resource of food in the communities we serve."

Among the measures that Stop & Shop said it is taking to reduce the risk of transmission are closing every other check out lane to create more distance between customers, and offering special shopping hours for seniors. The company said it is also frequently sanitizing high-touch surfaces, hiring a third-party cleaning company and ensuring that employees have access to items like disinfecting wipes, gloves and hand sanitizers.

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Adrian Ma Twitter Reporter
Adrian Ma is a reporter for WBUR's Bostonomix team.

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