SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Target confirmed on May 27 that multiple people at its distribution center in Suffolk have tested positive for COVID-19.
While it is not known the exact number of how many tested positive, Target said they have been in contact with the employees who are currently in quarantine.
In a statement released to 10 On Your Side, the company said:
“We’re paying these team members while they’re on leave and our thoughts are with them during this challenging time. After learning about positive cases, we also work quickly to deep clean and sanitize the facility, which is the recommendation of public health experts.”
Employees at the facility tell 10 On Your Side they’re afraid to come to work.
“Everybody is just kind of on edge,” said a Target team member, who asked to conceal his identity.
The worker said the company first notified employees in mid-May through an automated message.
“Two people had contracted COVID on the 15th and they were low-risk cases because they were out the building,” the worker said, recalling the message.
About a week later, the worker told us employees got another message about a third positive COVID-19 case. However, this time, the worker told us the notification said the ill employee had been inside the facility.
The corporation is working with local health departments to ensure that proper guidelines are being followed as per the CDC and the Virginia Department of Health.
Regarding specific measures implemented in the distribution centers, Target said:
The safety of our team is our top priority and we’re implementing many measures to ensure a clean working environment, including:
Providing team members with high-quality, disposable face masks and gloves to wear at work and encouraging healthy hygiene habits as guided by the CDC.
Making sure our team knows and follows the latest guidance from the CDC for cleaning and sanitation, including enhancing our building sanitation practices by increasing the frequency of building cleaning and providing more sanitation stations throughout the DCs.
Adding signage and floor decals as reminders for healthy hygiene habits and social distancing best practices in breakrooms and on the floor of our DCs.
Temporarily, pausing all large group gatherings in person, such as team and department meetings
The worker we spoke to confirmed employees have received PPE for their shifts, but he still has concerns.
“Masks are not mandatory, so with that being said, people can choose not to wear a mask,” he said. “We don’t know who’s symptomatic, who’s asymptomatic right now.”
The worker said the company’s efforts are appreciated, but he’d like to see the entire facility temporarily shut down for deep cleaning. We spoke to other employees by phone who said they want testing offered for all employees and temperatures taken at the warehouse door.
“Our lives are worth more than these toys and these textiles,” he said.
Target also released a number of health and safety efforts being implemented across the corporation regarding COVID-19 including rigorous cleaning routines such as:
- Providing employees with face masks and gloves to wear at work and encouraging healthy hygiene habits as guided by the CDC.
- An employee is stationed at each store entrance to clean carts and baskets.
- Cleaning check lanes after each guest transaction.
- Rotating the use of check lanes to allow those lanes not in use to be deep cleaned.
- Adding payroll hours to support more rigorous cleaning routines.
- Adding plexiglass partitions at the check out lanes, electronics, service desks, CVS Pharmacy and Target Optical.
The company is also having guests remain 6 feet apart and has implemented the following to help enforce this:
- Actively monitoring guest traffic to promote social distancing.
- Posting signage at the front of every store.
- Implementing floor signage.
- Dedicating team members to make sure guests in line are at an appropriate distance until called to the register.
- Overhead audio messaging in the stores.
“Our top priority is the health and safety of our team members and guests. We will continue to actively monitor this situation and respond accordingly,” said company officials.
“At Target, we’re committed to helping the families and communities we serve in good times and bad. We’ve already taken a number of steps in support of our team and guests, with increased safety measures and operational changes. And, we’ll continue to do all we can to help navigate these uncertain times,” it reads on the company’s coronavirus response page.
For more information on the company is battling the pandemic, visit Target online.
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