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Aurora Walmart allowed to reopen after order to close in wake of COVID-19 outbreak, 3 deaths

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Posted at 7:01 AM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 09:01:47-04

AURORA, Colo. — A Walmart in Aurora closed after three people associated with the store died of COVID-19 amid an outbreak of the virus at the location has been given the green light to reopen.

The Tri-County Health Department announced it has permitted the Walmart Supercenter at 14000 East Exposition in Aurora to reopen Sunday.

The department, which serves Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties, said the Aurora store was cleaned and disinfected by a third party contractor over the weekend and has implemented an array of safety measures to prevent the spread of the virus.

Those measures include social distancing, signage throughout, enhanced metering of shoppers into the store, one-way traffic through isles, employee communication systems and usage of masks, and a robust employee illness screening and reporting process utilizing tools provided by TCHD.

The TCHD closed the Aurora Walmart location on Friday after an employee, her husband and a third-party contracted employee died of the novel coronavirus. There are 11 additional confirmed cases linked to the outbreak at the Aurora store. The majority of employees who tested positive have not been at work for more than a week, the TCHD said in a release.

The employee who died was a 72-year-old female. Her 63-year-old husband, who didn’t work for the store, also died. The third person to die — the third-party contracted employee — was a 69-year-old man. He worked for an independent security company.

Additionally, the TCHD said prior to them issuing an order to close Friday, they had received a series of complaints about the Exposition location regarding the lack of social distancing, too many people in the store at one time, and employees not wearing masks or face covering.

A Walmart spokeswoman said in a statement to Denver7 Sunday, “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.”