Worcester Walmart Preparing to Reopen After Dozens of Employees Test Positive for Coronavirus

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The Walmart in Worcester, Massachusetts, is getting ready to reopen after a coronavirus outbreak sickened dozens of employees.

Professionally deep-cleaned, the Walmart store in Worcester is leaving customers with concerns after 81 of its roughly 400 employees tested positive for COVID-19.

"I think it's quite possible they open tomorrow," said Worcester City Manager Ed Augustus. "I know our inspectional services folks have gone in there and it's been cleaned professionally."

Customers say it may be a while before they feel safe shopping at the store again.

"Probably not this Walmart for a while, but Leicester and Ware, Mass., yeah," said Bob Herrie, who works in Worcester.

"Probably not, but from time to time, maybe," said Sallalee Salgado, who works nearby.

But Augustus said Monday afternoon that all but a dozen employees had completed testing for coronavirus.

"Those 12 employees who haven't been tested yet cannot return to work until we get the test results from them, but there are hundreds who have been tested, tested negative, and they're able to go back to work," Augustus said.

One Worcester Walmart employee who didn't want to show her face for fear of losing her job said she didn't realize there was an outbreak until the health department shut down the store last week.

"All the employees that I work with in the front end – gloves, masks, all of them – so I didn't feel unsafe working there until I found out there were other people coming in sick," she said.

The employee echoed what Augustus said – that she's been told by her bosses that the store plans to reopen Tuesday morning.

"The facility's been cleaned, they've confirmed that they have the signage and other supplies there to comply with the mask wearing, the social distancing within the stores, so I think they're ready to go back," Augustus said.

It's unclear at this point when this Walmart store does reopen just how many customers will actually show up.

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