ALEXANDRIA BAY — An employee at Price Chopper who wasn’t self-quarantined after a co-worker tested positive for COVID-19 last week, resulting in the store being short-staffed at a time it’s struggling to stock the shelves, is saying management is stepping up amid a situation they couldn’t have planned for.
Allyson Thomas said she’s thankful to still be at work. She works in the deli at the Price Chopper in Alexandria Bay, and one of her co-workers tested positive for COVID-19 last week. By Sunday night, a team in tyvek suits, wearing respirators, goggles and masks came in and deep-cleaned the store. She was in a meeting with management, in which employees were told about the positive case and what to do if they’re feeling symptoms and what precautions to take. Right now, she said around 10 employees who were in contact with the person who tested positive are now home and self-quarantined. The result is the store is now short-staffed as they scramble to get ahead of the demand.
“Just another lovely day in the pandemic life,” she said.
In fact, Ms. Thomas said employees at other Price Chopper locations have transferred to the Alexandria Bay location to help out.
In a statement to the Times Thursday morning, Mona Golub, a spokesperson for Price Chopper, confirmed an employee in its Alexandria Bay store tested positive for COVID-19.
The employee had not worked since April 1, and when the positive results came back four days later, Price Chopper followed health department guidance and directed other employees at the store who may have come in close, extended contact with the person who tested positive to self-quarantine out of caution.
“We then shared the information with everyone who works in our Alexandria Bay store,” Ms. Golub said, “and initiated a comprehensive cleaning of the store that included bringing in a professional crew to clean the store overnight.”
Ms. Golub also said five employees from other stores and a couple field specialists are helping at the Alexandria Bay location.
Ms. Thomas said management has been extremely generous in handling the positive case. She said those who are quarantined are still being paid, and management is providing extra help to those who are home like food and supplies. Those still working are getting paid more, and the store is working on providing their employees with personal protective equipment.
“They approved gloves and cleaning supplies,” she said, “but an extra face mask would give the employees who are running registers extra relief.”
Leadership is doing this despite most head managers having to self-quarantine as they were doing daily meetings with each other and were the last who were in contact with the employee who tested positive, Ms. Thomas said.
“Dealing with working still and getting paid the same maybe a little more is hard,” Ms. Thomas said. “And then dealing with the community, which is handling things as well as they can but are still frustrated at not having the products they want, but we just try to keep people calm and understanding.”