Single case of COVID-19 identified at Orangeville Walmart

June 5, 2020   ·   0 Comments

By Brian Lockhart

Shoppers seem to have mixed feelings when it comes to visiting the Orangeville Walmart after learning one of the store’s employees recently tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, however most don’t seem overly concerned and are confident the store took adequate precautions.

The employee last worked a shift at the store on May 24.

When asked about the local store’s response to the situation, a spokesperson at the Orangeville Walmart declined to comment and referred the Citizen to Walmart Corporate Affairs.

The Walmart Corporate Affairs department was not available for comment and didn’t reply to a query on the situation at the store.

However, a representative at Walmart previously informed media that the store has undergone a ‘deep cleaning’ as a precaution. Felicia Fefer, Walmart’s Manager of Corporate Affairs, went on to note the organization has been in touch with the infected employee. 

“We are in contact with the associate and are keeping them in our thoughts,” Ms. Fefer said. “Everyone at Walmart wishes them a speedy recovery.”

She added, “We have enhanced cleaning in the store, and other social distancing measures in place. Rest assured, we will continue to take measures necessary to ensure the well-being of our customers and associates.”

Orangeville Walmart is by far the busiest store in Dufferin County, with thousands of individuals passing through the doors of the local store on a weekly basis. While there was some concern on social media once news broke that an employee had tested positive for coronavirus, we chatted with several shoppers this week to find out, first, if they were aware of the incident, and second if it made them re-think their trip. 

The first shopper we approached admitted he was unaware that an employee had tested positive, but that probably wouldn’t have stopped him from entering the store, even if he had known. 

“Probably not,” he said when asked if knowing an employee had tested positive would have changed his mind about shopping there. “I quickly went in and grabbed some stuff and came right out. I work in a grocery store so I’m already out there. I know that every day they have to scrub things down when that happens. As long as other people there didn’t test positive, I think it would be fine.”

Another shopper who was aware of the situation said she was a little concerned, however being able to do all her shopping at one location was better than having to visit several locations around town.

“I learned about it on my Facebook,” she explained. “I am worried about it, but the shopping I’m doing today is for my elderly neighbour. There’s a number of things on my list that I would have had to go to a number of stores if I didn’t get here. I figure I would have exposed myself three times if I had to go to multiple stores. I’m very nervous about it – I wear a mask and always use hand sanitizer. When I get home, I clean everything with Lysol wipes. It’s up to yourself to limit your risk. You’re at risk no matter where you go. I just hope that they have done the necessary precautions that they published that they did to limit future risk for people.”

Two young women returning to their car with some household products said that one person having the virus wasn’t a big concern for them. They added they would have thought twice if several more people in the same store also had the virus. Neither woman was aware that someone had tested positive.

“I didn’t know that,” one woman replied when asked if she knew that an employee had contracted the virus. 

“Probably not,” she replied when asked if it would have made a difference for her visiting that location. “We had to get rugs. We needed to get something so we came here.”

She added that if it had been several people who had tested positive for the virus, they would have gone to another store.

Only one person said they wouldn’t have shopped at the store if they knew an employee had tested positive.

The woman is a resident in the area only during the summer months.

“I wasn’t aware of that,” she said. “I think it would have made a difference. I’m from Toronto and I’m here to escape from the COVID-19 pandemic. So if there’s something going on in the city at a store, I just go to another one. It’s just unnerving.”

The fact that the store had a single, isolated case of a person contracting the COVID-19 virus hasn’t seemed to stop most shoppers from getting what they need.

There was a long line-up of people waiting to get into the store on Monday, however, it was a fast-moving line and most shoppers only had to wait for a few minutes before being allowed in.

COVID-19 cases are down across the board in our region, with all outbreaks declared to be over. As of press time, Ontario has had 29,047 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 22,811 making full recoveries. 2,312 individuals have died across the province. 

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