Grocery stores are among the essential businesses permitted to stay open during the state’s stay-at-home order, but a handful of local supermarkets have been forced to temporarily close after employees tested positive for COVID-19, ABC 7 reports.
Vallarta Supermarket in Canoga Park is closed indefinitely and is undergoing deep cleaning and sanitizing by a professional decontamination company after a worker tested positive on Friday. The company says the infected person was last in the store on March 22 and employees who had contact with them are undergoing 14 days of self-quarantine.
In the Pacific Palisades, a Gelson’s on Sunset Boulevard shut down briefly after a front-line worker tested positive on Friday, but an employee told Los Angeles by phone on Monday that the store was able to reopen on Saturday. As with Vallarta, that worker was also last in the store on March 22, and employees who had contact with the individual are on 14 days paid self-quarantine.
At the Sprouts market on El Camino Real in Tustin, a third worker tested positive for the virus. Reps for the store confirmed that the person was last at work on March 20 and the location reopened after a deep cleaning.
A Huntington Beach Whole Foods remained open when one of its employees tested positive, but “additional cleaning and disinfection” were performed, the grocer said in a statement to the L.A. Times.
Meanwhile, an employee at the Eastvale Amazon facility as well as a worker at a Marina del Rey Costco have reportedly also tested positive. Amazon associates who worked closely with the infected person are also on 14-day self-quarantine.
Despite the grim news, a local doctor is urging the public not to panic but to adhere to basic health and safety guidelines.
“The way you’re going to get this infection is through contact,” Dr. Marc Kerner, an ear, nose, and throat otolaryngologist told ABC 7. “If you’re wearing gloves or wearing a mask, you’re gonna reduce your ability to contact surfaces where you can acquire the virus.”
Kerner also said there is no need to wipe down every item after you go shopping, simply wash your hands with soap and water when you get home and then repeat after putting away the groceries.
“If you can keep your hands clean, keep your face clean and you can actually protect your nose and mouth, you’re gonna go a long way to not getting this virus,” he advised.
As for face masks, the average citizen should not be using N95 masks, Kerner also told ABC 7 that, because they need to be reserved for medical personnel and first responders. For civilians a surgical or cloth mask will suffice for extra protection.