Walmart in New Mexico Ordered to Close After 4 Workers Test Positive

July 13, 2020

New Mexico work safety regulators Saturday ordered Walmart to close a store in Las Cruces, after four employees tested positive for COVID-19 in the past three weeks, the New Mexico Environment Department said.

A “notice of imminent endangerment” issued by the Occupational and Safety Bureau also requires Walmart to test the store’s workers for COVID-19 and to thoroughly disinfect the building, the department said in a statement.

“Walmart stated they do not require employees who test positive to self-quarantine for 14 days, nor do they notify individuals who came into close personal contact with such employees to get tested,” the statement said.

The department urged customers who visited the Las Cruces location on Rinconada Boulevard since June 22 to seek COVID-19 testing.

The New Mexico Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to provide safe and healthful workplaces for their employees, the department said.

Walmart spokesman Pedro Mucciolo responded to a request for comment on the state’s action with a statement that did not specifically address the New Mexico order but said the company was “taking all measures necessary to safeguard the well-being of those inside our stores, fulfillment centers and distribution centers.”

Walmart is working to ensure that its stores are cleaned and sanitized regularly, the statement said. “We are focused on serving our customers and keeping our associates safe during this unprecedented time and we’ve implemented several measures in consideration of guidance by the CDC and health experts intended to help bring peace of mind.”

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