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DC essential businesses do not have to notify you if an employee tests positive for coronavirus

The DC Health Department has issued guidelines for employees, but there is no law requiring the public be notified of positive cases at essential businesses.

WASHINGTON — A Whole Foods employee, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, says they're "outraged" that the Logan Circle store never closed after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19. 

"It’s about safety for everyone in that store, and the public doesn’t know that they have employees who came down with the corona in that store," the employee said.  

RELATED: Whole Foods employee: Multiple workers at Logan Circle store have coronavirus

Whole Foods sent WUSA9 a statement reading in part, "We are meeting any notification of diagnosis with swift comprehensive action and communication." 

Apparently that communication does not extend to shoppers.  

According to D.C. Department of Health, stores deemed essential businesses are not required by law to notify the public. Instead, employees are given guidelines on how to keep themselves and customers safe, such as wearing masks and not coming to work if they are sick. 

RELATED: Foggy Bottom Whole Foods employee test positive for the coronavirus

RELATED: How to properly wear face masks to prevent coronavirus spread

"The public’s behavior for going to any business in the District should be the same regardless if there has been a case among an employee or patron at that business," DOH Director LaQuandra Nesbitt said. 

Besides requiring shoppers to wear masks at essential businesses, city leaders said stores must also take precautions, like installing plexiglass at the registers and enforcing social distancing by creating one-way aisles, and limiting customers in the store.  

A spokesperson for Whole Foods said they now even take daily temperature checks after their confirmed cases.

"We also know that African Americans disproportionately provide front line services, so if we’re concerned about black people dying with COVID-19 in Washington D.C., everybody needs to do their part," Mayor Muriel Bowser said. "If you want stores to continue serving you food, everyone needs to do their part." 

RELATED: Union calls for DC to declare grocery store workers as 'first responders'

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