Local Trader Joe’s Reopens After Closing on COVID-19 Cases

Photo by Mitch Lehman / The Review
Trader Joe’s on Mission Street was closed from Saturday to Wednesday for additional cleaning after a third employee tested positive for COVID-19. That employee was most recently at the store on Monday, April 6.

The Trader Joe’s grocery store on Mission Street reopened on Wednesday after a temporary closure prompted by a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis for three store employees.
The store was among four locations listed by the corporation on Monday as temporarily closing for additional cleaning as a result of the employee cases, according to the company website. The other three stores — one in San Clemente and the other two in New Jersey and Massachusetts — each reported a single case late last week and reopened on Tuesday.
South Pasadena’s store reported multiple crew members having been diagnosed.
According to Kenya Friend-Daniel, a Trader Joe’s spokeswoman, two employees were confirmed to have the disease on Thursday, April 9, and the store performed an extra cleaning that night. One of those employees was last at the store on March 28 and the other on March 30.
Then, on Saturday, April 11, the third employee received a positive diagnosis. Friend-Daniel said the store closed that day and remained closed until Wednesday. That employee was most recently at the store on Monday, April 6.
“Seeing that the store was closed on Sunday, for Easter, we decided to keep the store closed for a couple of additional days for an additional, thorough cleaning,” the spokeswoman said in an email.
Trader Joe’s stores have joined other big-name retailers in limiting the flow of customers in the buildings at any given time, with lines frequently seen queuing around the locations during the day. Enforced social distancing — that is, maintaining a 6-foot distance in between people, especially in confined locations — is seen as an instrumental practice in reducing the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus that has spread virtually around the globe since it emerged in November in China.
“As is the case any time a crew member receives a positive test or displays symptoms associated with COVID-19, we make sure all crew members at the location are informed and understand the steps to take to best safeguard their own health and the health of their community,” Friend-Daniel added. “They’re told to monitor their symptoms and if they become ill before work they are to stay home and if during work, they are to inform their captain and be sent home immediately.”
As of The Review’s deadline on Wednesday, there were 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among South Pasadena residents according to Los Angeles County Public Health. At least one employee or resident of the South Pasadena Care Center has been diagnosed with the disease, the department said. Throughout the county, there were 10,496 confirmed cases and 402 deaths.
Per the county’s orders, grocery stores and other businesses considered essential for operation during the pandemic are required to submit plans with county health officials on enforcing social distancing among employees and customers and also on additional cleaning to remove any potential traces of the virus throughout the day.
More recently, the county decreed last week that such stores had until Wednesday this week to provide their employees with cloth masks or other face coverings for use during work and to begin enforcing customer use of the masks while in the stores.