A Wawa convenience store in Fountain Hill, Lehigh County, is temporarily closed for professional cleaning and disinfecting after an employee who recently worked in it tested positive for COVID-19.
According to a sign taped to the inside of the front door, in accordance with “stringent protocols” the store was immediately closed after the company learned of the associate’s test result Wednesday.
The sign said the employee last worked in the store on Friday, March 27.
“The store will reopen as soon as possible with associates from neighboring stores, if needed,” the statement said. “We are working with the Department of Health on notifications to any associate who may have had close contact with the associate.”
“As always, the health and safety of our customers and associates is a top priority,” the company said. “We will do everything we can to support our impacted associate and take all necessary steps to monitor, safeguard and protect our associates and customers.”
The sign further advised customers with concerns to contact the Department of Health with them.
Shortly before 8 p.m., a steady stream of cars continued to enter the store’s parking lot, which is located at 1429 Broadway.
Customers who approached the locked front doors appeared to register surprise as they read the statement.
The Fountain Hill Wawa is the second store the chain has temporarily closed in the Lehigh Valley due to an employee’s positive COVID-19 test result.
Last week the Wawa store in Macungie, Lehigh County, was closed for less than a day for deep cleaning after one of its workers tested positive for the disease, according to published reports.
Members of a professional cleaning team some of whom appeared to be wearing Hazmat-type suits and respirators could be seen inside the Fountain Hill Wawa on Wednesday evening, and several work trucks were parked in front of the store.
The company recently moved to help limit the spread of the disease by temporarily banning self-service coffee, closing for one hour each morning for cleaning and sanitizing and taking other steps to help reduce customers’ exposure to the potential contagion.
A representative for the Greensboro, N.C., based grocer said the store was professionally cleaned and disinfected overnight after the company learned of the test result.
Other supermarket and convenience store workers throughout the Lehigh Valley and beyond have also recently been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, which has led to calls for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks by individuals currently working in the industry.
Supermarkets and convenience stores remain open in Pennsylvania as they are considered life-sustaining, essential businesses, however many are taking additional steps to help limit the spread of the coronavirus, such as by installing sneezeguards at registers and using floor tape to help promote social distancing.
On Wednesday the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania rose to nearly 6,000, or by nearly 20 percent. According to state health department officials, 75 residents have died from the disease to date, most of whom were either elderly or had underlying health conditions.
Gov. Wolf extended his stay-at-home order to cover the entire state Wednesday, to try and further contain the pandemic’s spread. The order will remain in effect at least until April 30.