Updated 5 pm
A Vineyard Haven Stop & Shop employee has tested positive for COVID-19, according to the grocery chain’s manager of external communications and community relations, Maria Fruci.
In an email to The Times, Fruci wrote that this is the only Stop & Shop employee who has tested positive for COVID-19 on Martha’s Vineyard.
“We have conducted an extensive deep cleaning of the entire store in strict accordance with [Centers for Disease Control] guidelines,” Fruci said.
In addition to having the store deep-cleaned, the employee will not return to work until they are cleared as no longer contagious for COVID-19, per state and CDC guidelines. Fruci did not provide a date of when the employee tested positive for COVID-19, or when the store was cleaned.
Tisbury health agent Maura Valley told The Times in an email that the Tisbury board of health was notified of the Stop & Shop employee. “The store was notified by our public health nurse, and has taken the appropriate steps to clean and sanitize the establishment. Close contacts of the individual have been quarantined, and testing is available at the drive-through test site for any store employee wishing to be tested. According to CDC guidance, a close contact is an individual who has been within six feet of a positive case for at least 15 minutes, so store customers most likely would not have had a long enough exposure to contract the virus. Since testing is available at the high school for asymptomatic individuals, anyone who is still concerned and wishes to be tested should call 877-336-9855 to schedule an appointment,” Valley wrote.
Fruci added that “out of an abundance of caution,” a “very small number” of employees who came in contact with the affected employee were asked to self-quarantine. Any other employees who feel sick are being asked to stay home. All are continuing to be paid.
Stop & Shop is also providing gloves, masks, and hand sanitizer, as well as guidance on enhanced hand-washing and hygiene protocols; requiring employees to wear masks or appropriate face coverings; employing robust cleaning and sanitizing procedures at each store, including disinfecting high-touch-point areas throughout the day; offering disinfecting wipes near the store entrance so customers can wipe down carriages, hand baskets, and ScanIt! devices before use; have installed clear plastic guards at registers for added protection; implementing customer capacity limits and one-way aisles in every store; and using signs, in-store announcements, and other measures to encourage social distancing within their stores.
“Grocery stores are an essential community service, and nothing is more important to us than the health of our associates and customers,” Fruci wrote.
Updated to include comments from Maura Valley and Maria Fruci. — Ed.