WASHINGTON — Three employees at a Giant Food in D.C. have tested positive for COVID-19, WUSA9 has confirmed.
According to a Giant spokesperson, the most recent associate to test positive last worked at the Giant location, located at 4303 Connecticut Avenue NW, on May 15.
In a statement to WUSA9 the spokesperson said:
“We immediately took the precaution of requiring this associate, as well as additional associates that were working with the affected individual, to quarantine themselves. They will all receive sick pay during their period of recovery and quarantine. We also took the necessary precautions to thoroughly clean and disinfect affected areas of the store."
The spokesperson said store managers continue to get feedback from associates and the union. In addition, the spokesperson said they have taken the following precautions to keep employees and shoppers safe during the pandemic including:
- Set up procedures in our stores to encourage social distancing (staying at least six feet apart from other people) as well as one-way aisle traffic with floor markers.
- Installed temporary plexiglass shields for higher-traffic areas, such as our pharmacies, cash registers, and customer service desks.
- Implemented designated shopping times for seniors and those with compromised immune systems from 6 a.m. -7 a.m. daily so they may shop when the store is most sanitized and least crowded.
- Limited the number of customers that can enter a store at any time at all our stores.
- Following CDC’s latest recommendation, we have given PPE to all associates (masks, face shields, and gloves) and it is mandatory for all Giant associates to wear masks while working in the stores.
- Per local guidelines, we are now asking our customers to wear face masks while shopping at our stores.
In a WUSA9 investigation back in April, it was revealed that several positive cases of COVID-19 had been reported among Whole Foods employees in the District.
Giant refused to comment about coronavirus cases, but at least one of its employees named Lelani Jordan died after contracting COVID-19, according to family members. Jordan worked at the Giant in Largo, Md.
Leilani Jordan, 27, an employee at the store's Largo location, died after being diagnosed with coronavirus, company officials announced.
Zenobia Shepherd, Jordan's mother, told WUSA9 that she worked at the Giant store for six years as part of the business's disability program.
"She just loved her little job," the mother said. "She did whatever they needed helping people.”
As the spread of coronavirus worsened, Shepherd said her daughter wanted to keep working at the grocery store to make sure others could get the items they needed.
Whole Foods never told shoppers about the positive cases among its employees, and WUSA9 learned the company did not have to.
WUSA9 reached out to DC Health, the Virginia Department of Health and the Maryland Department of Health, and all three agencies confirmed essential businesses are not required by law to tell the public of known positive COVID-19 cases.
During our investigation, we also reached out to Trader Joe's, ALDI, Safeway, Giant, Whole Foods and Shoppers to ask which grocery stores in the DMV had known positive coronavirus cases.
Trader Joe's confirmed positive cases at three locations which include Arlington, Reston, and 14th Street. A spokesperson said the stores were closed and deep cleaned. The company posts all temporary closures on its website.
Trader Joe’s enacted wellness checks for its employees and other procedures to keep staff and customers safe, which can be found by clicking here.
ALDI confirmed six of its employees have tested positive at six different locations:
- Store at 6524 Landover Road, Cheverly, Md. 20785
- Store at 7609 New Hampshire Ave., Takoma Park, Md. 20912
- Store at 2223 Bel Pre Road, Silver Spring, Md. 20906
- Store at 6129 Backlick Road, Springfield, Va. 22150
- Store at 4580 Duke Street, Alexandria, Va. 22304
- Distribution Center at 8751 Gas House Pike, Frederick, Md. 21701
A spokesperson for ALDI said in a statement:
"All of the employees are in quarantine and on paid leave and we are doing everything we can to ensure they receive the attention they need.
"We’ve implemented a number of initiatives over the last several weeks to further promote health and safety for both customers and employees. Personal protective equipment is available for our employees to use. Across the country, we have installed signage and floor decals to remind our employees and customers to maintain a safe distance -- at least 6 feet -- from one another. We’ve also installed temporary protective barriers at checkout and are continuously cleaning shopping carts throughout the day.
"Last week, we began limiting the number of people inside our stores to approximately five customers per 1,000 square feet. Inside the store, we rolled out one-way aisles to better manage the flow of traffic and help our customers maintain social distance from each other and our team members. In-store signage will direct shoppers through the store.
"We also started taking the temperatures of our store and warehouse employees and asking employees a few basic health screening questions before reporting to work last week. Any employee with a fever of 100.0 or higher will be sent home."
All of the businesses WUSA9 made contact with said they have enhanced cleaning protocols, implemented safeguards to protect employees, and said that customers' safety is a priority despite most of the stores keeping the public out of the loop.