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Grocery worker fatalities due to Coronavirus spark concern nationwide

New York Workers' Compensation

Recent Coronavirus deaths reported at grocery stores in New York and other states

As the number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases nationwide continues to climb, no industry seems to be immune. In particular, recent Coronavirus deaths involving essential workers at grocery stores in New York and around the country have raised concerns about the safety of workers at these essential businesses.

Coronavirus-related employee deaths involving supermarket workers have been reported at stores in New York, Maryland and the Chicago area in Illinois, according to MSNBC. Supermarket employees who recently died of COVID-19 include a worker at a Trader Joe’s in Scarsdale, N.Y., two Walmart employees at a Chicago-area store and a greeter at a Giant store in Largo, MD.

The Trader Joe’s employee who worked at the Scarsdale, New York store died April 6, The Washington Post reported. In response to the employee’s death, Trader Joe’s closed its Scarsdale, New York store in order to allow employees “time to process and grieve,” Trader Joe’s spokesperson Kenya Friend-Daniel said in an email to MSNBC. Trader Joe’s stores in Brooklyn, NY and Philadelphia, PA were also closed April 6 for additional sanitizing and cleaning, according to MSNBC.

How at-risk are supermarket employees to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?

With restaurants and bars closed in many states throughout the country due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19), an increasing number of people have been buying all their food at supermarkets. As a result, many supermarket chains have been adding thousands of employees in order to meet customer demand.

Walmart, the nation’s largest grocery store chain, is seeking to hire an additional 150,000 workers, according to MSNBC. Other grocery store chains, like Kroger’s, are seeking to hire an additional 10,000 workers.

Some grocery stores have taken precautions to protect employees and customers. In particular, some supermarkets have installed Plexiglas sneeze guards at cash registers and have notices directing customers to stand six feet apart in line. Even so, finding people willing to work at supermarkets may become more difficult, since this work often puts employees in close contact with customers, according to supermarket analyst Phil Lempert.

“One of the biggest mistakes supermarkets made early on was not allowing employees to wear masks and gloves the way they wanted to,” Lempert told MSNBC. “They’re starting to become proactive now, but it’s still going to be much tougher to hire hundreds of thousands of new workers. We’re going to start seeing people say, ‘I’ll just stay unemployed instead of risking my life for a temporary job.’ "

What should I do if I got the Coronavirus while working at a supermarket?

If you believe you contracted the Coronavirus (COVID-19) through your work at a supermarket, we strongly urge you to take the following steps:

  • Call 911 right away if you are experiencing severe Coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, including fever, shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
  • Tell your supervisor or another superior at work you believe you have the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • Call your doctor, if you have not already done so, and tell them you believe you have the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
  • Contact our law firm at your earliest convenience. You may be eligible for workers’ compensation or other benefits.

For more information about the Coronavirus (COVID-19), visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) website.

You may be eligible for benefits if you are sick

For more information about your legal rights, contact Pasternack Tilker Ziegler Walsh Stanton & Romano LLP Attorneys At Law. Our New York City-based law firm offers free legal consultations for grocery store employees and other essential workers affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Schedule a free video or phone consultation. Our law firm remains fully operational. Our New York workers’ compensation attorneys are here for you when you need us most.

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