The City of Worcester issued a cease-and-desist order to Walmart after 23 employees tested positive for the virus.
“All COVID-19 testing will be conducted at the direction of the City Medical Director, who will confirm the testing results and determine whether an employee is eligible to return to work,” the City of Worcester said in a statement, adding that a city inspection found that no staff or customers were wearing protective masks or gloves.
“All patrons and employees shall be required to wear face masks while in the store and employees returning to work shall also wear protective gloves,” the statement continued.
The city said it is ordering that the Walmart operator needs to “cease and desist” operating the establishment and “vacate all personnel.”
“The store shall remain closed until it is professionally cleaned and sanitized and a re-inspection by our health department can occur. The operator shall require all employees returning to work to be tested for COVID-19 and shall not allow any employee testing positive to return to work,” the statement said.
The store was originally slated to close on Thursday. The emergency order was moved to Wednesday.
“I think it is the safest thing for the community to have that closed down until we are sure that people are not put at risk by continuing to shop there,” City Manager Edward Augustus said to WHDH.
Walmart issued a statement about the matter.
“These one-day closures are part of a program initiated by our company and are in addition to the extensive actions we’ve taken for the well-being of our associates and customers,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “As a company, we continue to monitor our local stores to ensure we are doing everything we can to help keep our customers and associates safe as we navigate providing customers the essential items they need.”