From Sunday to Tuesday the Escondido Walmart’s Neighborhood Market on East Valley Parkway closed for cleaning and sanitation amid the coronavirus pandemic.
According to spokesman Casey Staheli, the decision to close was “a company-initiated program to allow third party cleaning crews time to thoroughly clean and sanitize the building.” The added time allowed employees time to restock shelves and prep the store to reopen.
The Times-Advocate asked Staheli if this was a routine closing to sanitize and clean the store or was it prompted by cases of COVID-19 among patrons or employees?
Staheli replied, “As for your question about positive cases, protecting the privacy of our associates is important, and I will refer you to the local health department for any confirmations of COVID-19.”
He added, “ In the event we do have a confirmed case at any of our stores, we are working with those associates and offering guidance and time needed to receive medical care. Associates have been encouraged to prioritize their health and stay home if feeling sick. We also implemented a COVID-19 emergency leave policy for all associates who feel unable or uncomfortable coming to work.”
Staheli concluded, “While we are not able to confirm any information related to the store at this time, we have been working to ensure our stores are cleaned and sanitized regularly.”
The statement the company issued on Sunday is as follows: “Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts. When the store reopens Tuesday, we will continue conducting associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with facemasks and gloves.
“These protocols are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the pandemic to help protect our associates and customers, including installing sneeze guards at registers, temperature checks and mandatory mask-wearing for associates, placing social distancing signage and enacting emergency leave policy for associates who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work. Additionally, through the help of our health ambassadors, we will continue requiring customers to wear protective facial coverings while inside the building.
“We will continue working closely with elected and local health officials, adjusting how we serve the community while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind.”