Wando Evans, an overnight stock and maintenance worker employed at a Walmart store in Evergreen Park, Illinois, for 15 years, was sent home by store managers on March 23 and found dead two days later, according to court documents (pdf) filed this week by a relative. He was 51 at the time of his death.
Two weeks prior to his death, Evans allegedly told management at the store that he was experiencing symptoms of the disease but was largely ignored, despite managers being aware that other workers within the store were also exhibiting symptoms.
The lawsuit claims that the Walmart store failed to exercise reasonable care in keeping the store in a healthy environment and protect its employees, customers, and other individuals within the store from contracting the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, also known as the novel coronavirus, “when it knew, or should have known that individuals at the store were at a high risk of infection and exposure due to the high volume of individuals present and circulating the store on a daily basis.”
Furthermore, it states that the Walmart store failed to cleanse and sterilize the store in order to prevent infection, did not implement social distancing guidelines, and did not provide employees, including Evans, with personal protective equipment such as masks or latex gloves.
According to the court documents, another worker from the same store, 48-year-old Phillip Thomas, died four days after Evans due to complications from the virus. He had also been exhibiting symptoms that were allegedly largely ignored by management.
“We are heartbroken at the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store and we are mourning along with their families,” a Walmart spokesperson said in a statement to The Epoch Times. “While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas. Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection.”
“As an extra precaution, we brought in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers, and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat.”
“We take this issue seriously and will respond with the court once we have been served with the complaint,” the spokesperson added.
According to a press release published on its website on March 31, Walmart has also taken a number of steps to ensure the health and safety of its employees, including expanding its paid leave policies; closing stores overnight for cleaning and restocking; installing sneeze guards and social distance markers in stores; and limiting the number of customers in a store at a given time.
It has also begun performing temperature checks on employees when they report to work in stores, clubs, and facilities, as well as asking them some basic health screening questions, and has started to make gloves and masks available to associates who want them.
So far there have been 435,128 confirmed cases of the CCP virus in the United States and 14,795 deaths attributed to the disease, of which 6,268 of those were in New York, which has become the epicenter of the disease in the country.