Two markets in Winthrop, Massachusetts, have temporarily closed after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the days leading up to Thanksgiving.
The town's Department of Public Health is urging any visitors to the Winthrop Marketplace or Winthrop Meat Market in the past week to self-monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 after five employees between the two businesses contracted the virus.
Four of the employees who tested positive work at the Winthrop Marketplace on Revere Street. Self-monitoring for COVID symptoms is recommended for anyone who visited this business between Saturday, Nov. 21 and Wednesday, Nov. 25.
The grocery market said on its Facebook page that they learned on Thanksgiving that four team members had been diagnosed with the virus. Of those, two employees are experiencing minor symptoms and are recovering at home, the business said. It's unclear if the other two are experiencing any symptoms.
The store has been closed to allow time for contact tracing and for all staff to be tested, according to the Facebook post, and the entire store will also undergo an "extensive sanitizing."
No date was given for when the market will reopen, however, store officials said they will reopen their doors "as soon as we feel it's safe to do so."
"Over the last eight months we have prided ourselves on the precautions we have taken to ensure customers and our staff could shop and work safely. We are committed to going above and beyond what is required by the state, and feel transparency and an abundance of caution is necessary," the post read. "The safety of our community - our customers, our staff, and their families - remains of the utmost importance to us and we are committed to doing all that we can to control the spread of this virus."
Coronavirus in Massachusetts
Winthrop Meat Market on Winthrop Street has also temporarily closed after one employee tested positive there, according to health and store officials. Anyone who visited this establishment between Monday, Nov. 23 and Wednesday, Nov. 25 is encouraged to self-monitor for coronavirus symptoms.
The meat market said Friday on its Facebook page that they were closing for the weekend to allow for "extensive cleaning and sanitizing."
The store is planning to re-open Monday, Nov. 30, according to its post.
The business apologized for any inconvenience its closure may cause and thanked customers for their understanding while urging them to be safe.
"We want to keep the safety of our employees and customers top priority," the post read. "Thank you for your understanding and please be safe."
The town's health department says all five employees who tested positive for the virus were last in both stores on Wednesday, Nov. 25. It also noted that the cases at the two separate businesses are not related.
Health officials say it is not necessary for anyone who visited these stores to quarantine unless they have been identified as close contacts -- all of whom have already been contacted.
If you would like to be tested, the town's health department recommends waiting four to five days after the last day of visiting one of the businesses. For example, if you were in one of the two markets on Tuesday, Nov. 24, then testing on Sunday is recommended.
According to the public health announcement from the town of Winthrop, there have been 783 residents who have contracted COVID since the pandemic began. Of those, 25 have died, 55 are isolated and 703 have recovered.
Winthrop officials say they were notified by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health of 20 additional COVID-19 cases over the Thanksgiving holiday.
Winthrop is not one of the 81 communities that is considered at the highest risk for transmitting the new coronavirus in Massachusetts.
Any Winthrop resident who has questions about the COVID-19 situation in town is encouraged to call the coronavirus information line at 617-539-5848, between 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. You can also email them at COVID19info@town.winthrop.ma.us.