Saturday afternoon, May 2, 2020, we received the following Facebook message from Verichio's Produce regarding our questions that we asked on Wednesday. We wanted to know when they first learned that the employee was sick. Did they threaten her or any other employee with being fired if they told anyone they had the illness? Who made the statement we don't know since there was no name with the message
As soon as we found out one of our employees had come down with the virus we informed all of our employees and suggested they get tested if possible or at least monitor for symptoms. We have followed all CDC and NJ guidelines and will continue to do so. All sick employees have been assured they should quarantine/rest/heal until they are 100% and not rush themselves. The safety and health of our employees and customers far outweigh any other factors. We do believe the virus was originally contacted outside of our store and then passed around between our long-term and extremely tight-knit staff. We have since done way above and beyond sanitizing and tighten of our already stringent policies.
William E. Cleary Sr. | CNBNews.net
BROOKLAWN, NJ (April 30, 2020)--Verichio's Produce, located in Brooklawn announced Tuesday night (April 28, 2020) that SEVERAL employees had the coronavirus. The announcement was made on their Facebook page.
At this time we are shortening our hours of operation to 9am-5pm. As you know from the beginning of this historic pandemic we have taken and continue to take as many precautions and enacted as many policies as humanly possible to maintain the safety of our workers and customers. In spite of those measures we have at this time had several of our employees contract the virus. So we have had to shorten our staff while those sick recover. We are getting as many employees tested as possible with or without symptoms.
The full statement is below.
Earlier this week, on Monday, CNBNews received a tip that a Verichio's Produce employee, at their Brooklawn location had the virus. Allegedly the manager threatened her with being fired if she told any of the other employees that she had it. According to the tipster, six more employees tested positive the following day. The tipster was a relative of one of the people who had it. We did not talk directly with any of the ill individuals.
CNBNews submitted several questions via email to Verichio's Produce but received no response. Also, two telephone messages left for Joe Verichio went unanswered. We wanted to know when they first learned that the employee was sick. Did they threaten her or any other employee with being fired if they told anyone they had the illness?
The Brooklawn Police Department was asked if a business had to shut down because of an employee had COVID19. Their answer was that a business could remain open. Looking for employer guidelines to follow in this type of situation the NJ Attorney General's Office was contacted. They, in turn, said contact the Camden County Board of Health. Dan Keashen, the Camden County public affairs officer said rules for employers to follow are posted on the state's website. "Whoever you contacted should have given the link for that information to you," he said.
There are similar guidelines for businesses to follow on the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.
According to the CDC critical infrastructure workers, such as employees at Verichio's Produce, may be permitted to continue work following potential exposure to COVID-19, provided they remain asymptomatic and additional precautions are implemented to protect them and the community.
Critical Infrastructure workers who have had exposure but remain asymptomatic should adhere to the following practices prior to and during their work shift:
- Pre-Screen: Employers should measure the employee’s temperature and assess symptoms prior to them starting work. Ideally, temperature checks should happen before the individual enters the facility.
- Regular Monitoring: As long as the employee doesn’t have a temperature or symptoms, they should self-monitor under the supervision of their employer’s occupational health program.
- Wear a Mask: The employee should wear a face mask at all times while in the workplace for 14 days after the last exposure. Employers can issue facemasks or can approve employees’ supplied cloth face coverings in the event of shortages.
- Social Distance: The employee should maintain 6 feet and practice social distancing as work duties permit in the workplace.
- Disinfect and Clean workspaces: Clean and disinfect all areas such as offices, bathrooms, common areas, shared electronic equipment routinely.
If the employee becomes sick during the day, they should be sent home immediately. Surfaces in their workspace should be cleaned and disinfected. Information on persons who had contact with the ill employee during the time the employee had symptoms and 2 days prior to symptoms should be compiled. Others at the facility with close contact within 6 feet of the employee during this time would be considered exposed.
See more CDC information here
Attention dear, loyal Verchio’s customers. At this time we are shortening our hours of operation to 9am-5pm. As you know from the beginning of this historic pandemic we have taken and continue to take as many precautions and enacted as many policies as humanly possible to maintain the safety of our workers and customers. In spite of those measures we have at this time had several of our employees contract the virus. So we have had to shorten our staff while those sick recover. We are getting as many employees tested as possible with or without symptoms. At this point most businesses who have been open for the duration of the event have dealt with or are currently dealing with a similar situation. We hope you understand that the safety and we’ll-being of everyone involved is most important to us, and we hope we have your understanding. We are doing our best to get through this crisis. All areas both for customers and workers have been sanitized, beyond our usually daily sanitizing, several times. And will continue to be a priority. As always the doors are kept open to keep the air as fresh and circulated as possible. We were the first to install barriers between customers and workers for this very purpose. So we ask for your understanding at this time and please know we are doing everything we can to get our business back to normal and serve you at the highest level. And as always keep products available to you at prices to help your families through this difficult time. Again please look out for each other and God bless you.