Trader Joe’s workers in ‘state of terror’ over NY’s coronavirus surge

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As the coronavirus pandemic surges across the nation this winter, some workers at the popular Trader Joe’s grocery chain in New York City say they worry constantly about contracting the disease.

Like most retailers, Trader Joe’s — which was founded in California in 1967 and has more than 500 locations spread over 42 states and the District of Columbia — has had to alter its normal standard of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Conditions have been challenging for some of the multibillion-dollar company’s 53,000 employees.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC COULD PERMANENTLY CHANGE GROCERY SHOPPING

In a Sunday report in Gothamist, employee Jamie Chosak said her colleagues had worked through the year “in a state of terror.” Chosak resigned from her position last week.

A sign posted in front of a Trader Joe’s reminds shoppers of purchase limits as a woman wearing a facemask due to the coronavirus pandemic enters the store on March 18, 2020, in Monrovia, Calif. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)

According to Gothamist, employees said stores were no longer adequately cleaned and many necessary health restrictions are not being enforced — an allegation Trader Joe’s reportedly denied.

Although workers have to complete a wellness check before starting their shifts at one of the 13 locations in the five boroughs, customers without masks have reportedly been a large part of the problem.

Over the summer, Murray Hill store workers were beaten after requesting two men put on masks.

TRADER JOE’S DISCLOSES CORONAVIRUS INFECTION RATES AFTER REPORT HIGHLIGHTS GROCER RISK

In an attempt to quell continuous concerns, the company released a statement at the end of last month reiterating its March commitment and procedures to care for workers and shoppers alike.

The pledge included the wellness checks, revised store hours, good hygiene and cleaning, additional compensated sick leave and “Thank You Pay,” plexiglass barriers at checkout stands and personal protective equipment. The chain’s efforts to prevent possible exposure to the virus including mandatory face coverings and social distancing.

“We are vigilant; heeding all federal, state and local health advisories; and where it makes sense, adjusting efforts to safeguard the health and safety of our crew members and customers,” Trader Joe’s promised.

In statistics published at the beginning of November, Trader Joe’s disclosed its COVID-19 infection rate amongst staff.

From March through the end of October, the stores had 1,250 reported cases among 53,000 staff members or approximately 2.4%. Three-quarters of its stores had at least one member test positive and two employee deaths were believed to be linked to the disease.

The data was put out in response to an alarming study from Harvard University researchers that found 20% of 104 grocery workers had tested positive at a store in Massachusetts.

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Trader Joe’s, however, contends its stores have seen a case rate lower than the community average in “virtually all” areas.

Trader Joe’s didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from FOX Business.

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