Aurora Walmart reopens following deadly COVID-19 outbreak linked to store

(Cropped Photo: JJBers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 / License Link)
(Cropped Photo: JJBers / Flickr / CC BY 2.0 / License Link)(KWQC)
Published: Apr. 23, 2020 at 9:37 PM MDT
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An Aurora Walmart has reopened following an outbreak of COVID-19 cases tied to the store, which claimed the lives of an employee, her husband and a security guard.

Tri-County Health Department (TCHD) closed the Walmart Supercenter on April 23 following a series of complaints received from employees and shoppers regarding the lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at one time, and employees not wearing masks or face coverings.

Following a thorough cleaning and disinfecting over the weekend, TCHD allowed the store to reopen. Sister station CBS Denver reports that store officials are now requiring employees to wear masks and added signage, shopper metering, one-way traffic through isles and employee illness screening in a way to rectify customer complaints.

"With the approval and guidance of the Tri-County Health Department, we have re-opened our store at 14000 E. Exposition Ave. in Aurora. In addition to following the extensive measures we already have in place – such as requiring associates wear masks or other face coverings, limiting the number of customers in the store, plexiglass barriers at checkout lanes and pharmacy areas, and social distancing floor decals at entrances and checkout lanes – we remain focused on the safety and well-being of our associates and customers. We are reinforcing with our associates the importance of open communication and compliance with social distancing measures. We will continue working closely with health officials during a time our customers are relying on us for food, medicine and other essential needs," the store said in a statement obtained by CBS Denver.

The deceased have been identified as a 72-year-old female employee; her 63-year-old husband, who did not work at the store; and a 69-year-old male who worked for an independent security company.

“We are extremely saddened by this news and offer our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of the three people we lost,” said John M. Douglas, Jr., MD, executive director of Tri-County Health Department. “These deaths underscore the severity of the highly-contagious coronavirus, and the need for diligent safety precautions to prevent any further spread, including the wearing of masks.

TCHD says there are 11 additional confirmed cases linked to the outbreak at the store.