Walmart Store Shut by Colorado After Three Coronavirus Deaths

(Bloomberg) -- A Walmart Inc. store near Denver has been shuttered by local authorities after three people with ties to the location died from coronavirus.

The closing came after a series of complaints from employees and shoppers about a lack of social distancing, according to the Tri-County Health Department. This included workers not wearing face masks and too many people in the store, which is located in the Denver suburb of Aurora, the agency said in a statement.

The deaths include a 72-year-old female employee and her 63-year-old husband, who did not work at the store. A 69-year-old male who worked for an independent security company also passed away. There are six additional confirmed cases among employees.

Walmart said that health authorities had called for the Aurora location be temporarily closed and that an employee died. In an email, Walmart said that “third-party cleaning experts” will sanitize the store while it’s shut and the company will work with the Tri-County Health Department to reopen the location.

These are the latest reported deaths of employees at retailers that have remained open during a lockdown for most of the economy because they have been deemed essential. Walmart is also facing a lawsuit in Illinois by the family of an employee who died from Covid-19 complications.

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, started requiring all store employees to wear masks this week. That came after it instituted social-distancing policies in late March. The company has installed plexiglass “sneeze guards” at checkout lanes, floor decals to help shoppers maintain their distance in high-traffic areas and limited the number of customers allowed in the store at the same time, among other measures.

The Associated Press reported the closing earlier.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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