A Home Depot store in Richmond Hill, Ont. will undergo "deep cleaning" on Tuesday night after 14 employees at that location tested positive for COVID-19.
The 14 employees of the store, at 50 Red Maple Rd., near Highway 7 and Yonge Street, have been quarantined, according to Paul Berto, director of corporate communications for Home Depot Canada.
"We're taking this very seriously and we've been working closely with York Region Public Health and are taking their guidance for the health and safety of our associates and customers," Berto said in a statement on Tuesday.
"We've taken additional steps to close the store overnight for deep cleaning. We've also adjusted hours to provide more time for cleaning and sanitizing with viricidal cleaners and will continue disinfecting high-touch and high-traffic areas several times a day."
Berto said the company is concerned about the health and safety of its employees and customers and has asked employees to stay home if they are not feeling well.
Home Depot will continue to limit the number of customers in its locations and enforce physical distancing. The company has also increased cleaning and disinfection of high-traffic and high-touch areas, which include self-checkout stations, door handles and bathrooms, he said.
Signs have been posted about the importance of frequent hand-washing, he added.
Berto said the company has provided face masks and personal protective equipment to all of its employees.
"Associates are required to wear masks when social distancing cannot be maintained (such as performing a two-person lift), or where stores are required by local law," he said.
York Region Public Health investigating the cases
In a public notice on its website on Tuesday, York Region Public Health says it is investigating the 14 cases.
Home Depot Canada has not indicated where in the store the employees worked but York Region Public Health says in the notice that it is "various departments."
The public health unit urges customers who shopped at the store between May 30 and June 9 and who interacted with employees for more than 10 minutes, standing less than two metres apart, to monitor themselves for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days. Customers can read the public notice here.
"We conducted risk assessments on the activities of these individuals while at work and determined the risk of COVID-19 transmission to the general public is low," York Region Public Health said in the statement.
"We are following up with the close contacts of these COVID-19 confirmed cases. In addition, we are conducting a follow-up inspection of the facility to review and reinforce infection prevention and control measures, physical distancing of employees and customers and reaffirming the importance of employees not working while ill."
Public health unit urges company to test all employees
York Region Public Health said it has recommended to Home Depot Canada that all employees at that location get tested for COVID-19.
COVID-19 assessment centres are located at Markham-Stouffville Hospital, Mackenzie Health and Southlake Regional Health Centre. York Region Public Health said employees and customers who get tested in relation to this outbreak should provide this number to the assessment centre: 2270-2020-390.
Ontario Health Minister Christine Elliott, meanwhile, said on Tuesday that the province will leave it up to retailers to decide whether to compel people in their stores to wear masks.
Elliott made the comment when asked about the outbreak of COVID-19 at the Richmond Hill Home Depot location.