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This Grocery Store Chain Has Seen Over 1,000 Sick Employees This Year

Here's what Trader Joe's is doing to keep its employees and customers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In case you missed it, the nationwide spike in COVID-19 is affecting Chipotle. The fast-casual chain has temporarily closed or limited hours at a number of restaurants as workers fall ill. While Chipotle didn't specify the number of locations, another titan in the food industry is shedding new light on how the pandemic is impacting its operations.

Trader Joe's just disclosed 1,250 positive cases of COVID-19 among its crew members as of Oct. 31. The grocer has 53,000 employees, meaning 2.4% of its workforce was affected. Of those individuals, 95% have completed a quarantine period, recovered, and chosen to to go back to work. Two employees died, with COVID-19 suspected to be a contributing factor.

Related: 9 Restaurant Chains That Closed Hundreds of Locations This Summer

"We believe that the results in virtually all areas are below the average rates of positive cases in each community where we have stores," Trader Joe's says. "To do this important work, we have developed, and continue to develop, effective procedures that meet or exceed CDC guidelines to safeguard the health and safety of our crew members and customers."

The company also reposted a list this week of the safety measures it's taking to care for crew members and customers. The document includes: additional paid-for sick time for all employees, crew member wellness checks, enhanced routine cleanings, hygiene reminders, mandatory face coverings, plexiglass barriers, and more. All workers are still receiving $2/hour of additional pay.

The coronavirus pandemic is impacting food workers in places beyond grocery stores and restaurants. Staff members of food processing plants have been particularly hard hit. Between March and August, over 10,000 Tyson employees contracted the virus.

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Amanda McDonald
Amanda is a staff writer for Eat This, Not That!. Read more