- A Whole Foods store in Detroit is being pummeled by COVID-19 after 24 employees tested positive.
- So far, no customers have reported catching the virus as a result of the outbreak.
- Detroit’s health department is asking shoppers who visited the store to check for potential symptoms.
- Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.
A Whole Foods Market in Detroit is being pummeled by COVID-19 after 24 employees tested positive for the virus, Detroit’s health department said in a public health notice.
So far, no customers have reported catching the virus as a result of the outbreak, but the city’s health department is asking shoppers who visited the store from February 12 to 22 to monitor themselves for potential symptoms.
Employees are not allowed to return to the store until they’ve quarantined, showed no symptoms, and tested negative, according to the health department. It’s now also working with the Amazon-owned grocer for vaccine access and safety procedure monitoring.
“The safety of our team members and customers remains our top priority, which is why we are taking comprehensive action to address this issue and have rolled out extensive measures to keep people safe in our stores,” a Whole Foods spokesperson told Insider in an email statement. The spokesperson also noted the mandatory negative test result before workers can return to the store.
Marc Perrone, the international president of the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, has called the Detroit Whole Foods outbreak “another wake-up call to grocery companies and elected leaders.”
“The fact is that this pandemic is far from over and national grocery companies are failing to do what is necessary to protect essential workers and the customers who depend on them every day,” Perrone said in the press release.
In December, a worker at the afflicted Whole Foods store sent a mass email to employees asking the grocer to update its policies to better protect its employees. In the letter, the unnamed employee asked for several changes, including the reintroduction of hazard pay and health benefits, and a face mask or shield mandate.
“If we allow this to continue, the company will remain completely disconnected from the interest of their workers, taking advantage of our fear and desperation in these trying times,” the email read. “No one would argue that the COVID outbreak is … Amazon’s fault, but the company has no excuse for such a cruel reaction to this pandemic.”
In response to the letter, a Whole Foods spokesperson told Insider in December that safety is a high priority for employees and workers.