April 14, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Trader Joe’s is temporarily shutting some of its stores to carry out COVID-19 cleaning and sanitization work this month– including its Rego Park location where an employee raised concerns about worker safety in the face of the pandemic last month.
The Rego Park location at 90-30 Metropolitan Ave. will close on April 23 and will re-open on April 24. It is one of a dozen stores across the city that will close for one day to carry out the work, according to the company’s website.
The grocery store chain issued a statement noting that it was taking proactive steps to protect the health and safety of both its customers and staff from the deadly virus.
“In line with our longstanding commitment to provide a safe and a clean shopping environment, [our] stores have increased the frequency of cleanings, paying close attention to high touch areas such as restrooms, register areas, grocery carts and hand baskets,” the company said.
On March 21, an employee at the Rego Park location raised concerns about the company’s approach to the virus and alleged that the company was not doing enough at the store to mitigate the spread of the disease.
The employee reached out to the Queens Post and alleged that workers didn’t have gloves to protect them from the coronavirus; there was not enough hand sanitizer, and social distancing procedures were being disregarded. Furthermore, employees were not wearing masks.
The company pushed back against the charges and said that it is concerned about all of its staff and customers safety and questioned the claims.
Since then reports have circulated that employees at various Trader Joe’s stores have contracted the virus. Just days after the Rego Park employee went public, the Union Square location was temporarily closed after a worker at the shop was confirmed to have the virus and the company also shut its Spring Street store in SoHo temporarily after several staff there tested positive for the virus, according to the New York Post.
On March 31 an undisclosed number of employees tested positive for coronavirus at its Merrick location and that store – along with six other stores nationwide – temporarily shuttered, according to the LI Herald.
The stores across New York City that are temporarily closing are listed below along with their closing dates. All stores are scheduled to re-open the following day.
April 20: East Village, 436 East 14th St.
April 21: Brooklyn City Point, 445 Gold St.
April 21: Upper West Side. 2073 Broadway
April 22: Murray Hill, 200 East 32nd St.
April 23: Rego Park, 90-30 Metropolitan Ave.
April 24: Essex Crossing, 400 Grand St.
April 24: Union Square, 142 East 14th St.
April 27: Union Square (wine shop), 138 East 14th St.
April 27: Chelsea, 675 Sixth Ave.
April 28: Brooklyn, 130 Court St.
April 28: SoHo, 233 Spring St.
April 28: Upper West Side at 670 Columbus Ave.