Employee at Memphis Kroger warehouse tests positive for coronavirus

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CINCINNATI – JULY 15: A sign identifies the Kroger Co. corporate headquarters July 15, 2008 in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Kroger is one of the nation’s largest grocery retailers, with fiscal 2007 sales of over $70 billion. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — An employee at a Kroger distribution warehouse in Memphis tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

A Kroger spokesperson for the Delta Division Distribution Center told WREG the employee reported testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

The employee hasn’t been in the distribution center since Saturday, and the company said their job was not around food or many people.

“The safety of our associates and customers is our top priority,” the Kroger spokesperson said. “We are supporting the individual, following guidelines from local officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of all employees at our site.”

Despite the positive test, trucks continued to roll into the distribution center Friday.

James E. Jones, president and principal officer for Teamsters Local 667, who represents hundreds of employees at the center, said workers aren’t sure what to make of the situation.

“Everyone is scared,” Jones said. “That’s the biggest thing that we are having to deal with — the fear factor.”

Jones says safety is the key.

“Of course everyone wants to work and do a good job and all of that, but at the same time, everyone wants to be safe and healthy,” Jones said.

Teresa Dickerson with Kroger said the grocery giant is taking steps to ensure that safety to emoployees.

“Right now what we’re doing at the distribution center, we are taking temperatures of everyone coming in the building so that we can monitor everyone right now,” Dickerson said. “We’ve gone through a deep-clean throughout the entire facility, all 600,000 square feet. We did have to stagger those areas to make sure that associates were not there.”

Jones said employees are also asking for gloves, along with staggered break times. 

“It’s not about the money, of course, but we would like some type of compensation for being in this type of environment and being obligated to come to work because we are an essential function,” Jones said.

Dickerson said employees are given paid time off when sick and are receiving bonus pay. 

“They have shown themselves to be superheroes during this time,” she said. “They are working miracles behind the scenes.”

Jones acknowledged at one point employees did receive a $300 bonus, but that was a few weeks ago.

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