Walmart in Worcester working toward reopening after 81 employees test positive for coronavirus

WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - A Walmart in Worcester is working to reopen after more than 80 employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

The store on Tobias Boland Way shut down last Wednesday after 23 workers initially contracted the virus. Nearly 400 employees have since been tested, bringing the total of infected workers up to 81, city officials announced on Saturday.

Worcester Medical Director Dr. Michael Hirsh says additional employees still need to be tested.

“There are some stray employees that were on leave and were not around to be tested Thursday and Friday when we did the bulk testing,” he said. “We want to make sure they are tested to be sure that they are not the ones that start an outbreak in the group we have as negative.”

Since closing, the Walmart has undergone two deep cleanings and two inspections to prepare for a safe reopening.

Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus added that the city will make sure Walmart is following proper social distancing guidelines when they open their door to the public.

“We did say one of the things that we want to see before the store is allowed to reopen is not only confirm that the cleaning that was professionally done is in line with our expectations, but that there are the right supplies, the right signage and the right kind of layout of six feet in terms of the checkout areas and other areas where people might congregate,” he said.

Officials say the Walmart should reopen sometime this week.

Health experts warned that Worcester is still in the surge and its peak is expected Friday.

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