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By Shawn Raymundo

Walmart on Monday, Dec. 28, temporarily closed its San Clemente location for cleaning and building sanitation, the retailer announced.

According to an emailed statement from the company on Monday, the Walmart Supercenter at 951 Avenida Pico will be closed through Tuesday, Dec. 29, starting from 2 p.m. and reopening at 7 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30.

Casey Staheli, a spokesperson with Walmart’s Corporate Affairs team, explained that the closure is part of a company-initiated program wherein a third-party cleaning crew conducts a deep clean of the building.

“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts,” the company said in its statement. “When the store reopens Wednesday, we will continue conducting associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with facemasks and gloves.”

It was unclear whether the closure was related to an employee or staff members testing positive for COVID-19. In an email to San Clemente Times, Staheli said that the company couldn’t disclose information about potential positive cases because of privacy protections.

 “Today’s decision was made based on several factors as we focus on safely serving our customers during this unprecedented time,” Staheli said in the email, adding, “While we are not able to confirm any information related to the store at this time, we have been working to ensure our stores are cleaned and sanitized regularly.”

Staheli wrote that the employees who were scheduled to work at the store will still be paid. He also said that the company works with employees and provides time needed for medical care in the event that a store has a confirmed case of the virus.

“Associates have been encouraged to prioritize their health and stay home if feeling sick,” he said in the email. “We also implemented a COVID-19 emergency leave policy for all associates who feel unable or uncomfortable coming to work.”

The closure in San Clemente coincides with another supercenter in Anaheim temporarily closing for cleaning, and follows the company’s closure of a San Jacinto location over the weekend, Orange County Register reported.

According to the company, the cleaning protocols “are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the pandemic to help protect our associates and customers.”

Such measures, the company said include “installing sneeze guards at registers, temperature checks and mandatory mask-wearing for associates, placing social distancing signage and enacting emergency leave policy for associates who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work.”

SR_1Shawn Raymundo
Shawn Raymundo is the city editor for the San Clemente Times. He graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in Global Studies. Before joining Picket Fence Media, he worked as the government accountability reporter for the Pacific Daily News in the U.S. territory of Guam. Follow him on Twitter @ShawnzyTsunami and follow San Clemente Times @SCTimesNews.

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