EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been updated to reflect additional store closings.
Trader Joe’s said it has temporarily closed six stores because an employee at each location either tested positive for novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or is receiving treatment for a suspected case.
The closings announced Monday include Trader Joe’s stores at Union Square in Manhattan (grocery store on 142 E. 14th St. and wine store on 138 E. 14th St.); Plainview, N.Y. (425 S. Oyster Bay Rd.); and Elkridge, Md. (6610 Marie Curie Dr.). Additional closings later were announced for stores in Millburn, N.J. (187 Millburn Ave.), and in New York's SoHo (233 Spring St.) and Chelsea (675 6th Ave.) neighborhoods.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily closed the stores for thorough cleaning and sanitization,” Trader Joe’s said in a statement.
The affected workers were last present in the stores on March 21 in Plainview; March 22 in Union Square; March 23 in Elkridge; March 24 in Millburn; and March 17 in SoHo and Chelsea, according to Trader Joe’s. The company said customers who visited the stores during the two-week periods ending on those days should contact their local or state health departments if they “have health-related concerns.”
“We are working closely with local health officials to take all necessary measures. We are connecting with all crew members at the respective locations, encouraging anyone who may have been in contact to follow CDC-recommended self-monitoring guidelines and to call their health care providers right away if they develop any symptoms,” Trader Joe’s stated.
The Monrovia, Calif.-based specialty grocer noted that all employees at the stores will be paid for their scheduled shifts while the locations remained closed.
“As soon as the stores have been fully cleaned and restocked, we plan to reopen,” Trader Joe’s said. “As we continue to respond to this rapidly evolving situation, our focus remains on doing whatever is necessary to safeguard the health and safety of our crew members and customers and best support our communities.”
At the Plainview store on March 21, Trader Joe’s was limiting the number of customers inside at one time, and shoppers were lined up along adjacent storefronts waiting to go in. A store employee handed each customer entering a cleansing wipe to use on their hands and/or the shopping cart handle. Published reports said Trader Joe’s stores in several states — such as Michigan, Illinois, Washington, California, North Carolina and Georgia — have instituted shopper capacity limits, with customers waiting in lines outside to enter.
The Plainview store is slated to reopen on March 26, Trader Joe's said.
For our most up-to-date coverage, visit the coronavirus homepage.