Walmart, Lowe’s and FreshCo in Hamilton area report COVID-19 cases among workers

A number of major retailers in Hamilton have reported a single case each of COVID-19 among employees in the last seven days. Global News File

Three major retailers in Hamilton, Ont., have reported one case of COVID-19 each among workers in late May, according to statements sent to Global News.

Walmart in Ancaster, Lowe’s on Barton Street and the FreshCo on Upper Gage Avenue have all undergone extensive cleaning measures and increased wellness checks among employees, according to spokespeople from each organization.

Walmart Canada has confirmed that an associate from the retailer’s Ancaster store at 1051 Garner Rd. W. tested positive for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

In a release, corporate affairs manager Felicia Fefer said the associate last worked at the store on May 27 and that contact tracing has been undertaken to identify other associates who were in close proximity with the employee.

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“Out of an abundance of caution, associates identified as being in close prolonged contact have been directed to self-isolate,” Fefer said.
“We have regular enhanced cleaning in the store and other social-distancing measures in place. We are in contact with local public health.”

Fefer said a number of measures to ensure the well-being of customers and associates were taken, including increased cleaning, temperature checks, limiting entry to the store to one adult per family and cleaning shopping carts.

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Earlier this week, Lowe’s Canada confirmed an associate at its 1945 Barton St. E. location tested positive for the coronavirus on June 2. The retailer temporarily closed the store after alerting Hamilton public health officials.

The employee last worked on May 31.

In a statement, Lowe’s said a number of cleaning and disinfecting measures have been taken in accordance with city guidelines, and the retailer is encouraging customers who visited the store between May 22 and 31, inclusive, to monitor for symptoms and call Telehealth Ontario at 1-866-797-0000, if needed.

The store reopened on June 3.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Sobey’s confirmed that a franchisee employee at its location at 601 Upper Gage Ave. tested positive for the virus on May 30. The last day the employee worked was May 25.

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A spokesperson for Sobey’s told Global News that no other cases of COVID-19 have been found at the Mountain location on Gage at Fennell Avenue East and said the store remains open after adhering to “proper cleaning and sanitization standards” as per company protocols and public health recommendations.

Hamilton’s medical officer of health says the city, so far, has been “fortunate” not to have experienced many workplace outbreaks.

Dr. Elizabeth Richardson said large retailers, like Walmart, Lowe’s, and FreshCo, who employ a significant number of essential workers have done “a great job” considering when there is a workplace infection, it’s usually just a single case.

“There is now really good guidance that’s been developed for all workplaces,” said Richardson, “The ministry of labor is working on these issues as well and encouraging them to follow that guidance as they go.”

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