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Monday, May 25, 2020

Employees at Maple Leaf Gardens Loblaws in Toronto test positive for COVID-19

The historic ice hockey cathedral-turned-big box grocery store known as Maple Leaf Gardens in downtown Toronto is the city's latest high-profile haunt to close (temporarily) on account of the coronavirus pandemic.

Loblaws confirmed Sunday evening that two employees at its popular 60 Carlton St. location had recently tested positive for COVID-19.

The team members had last worked on May 13 and May 18, according to store management, though neither were said to be showing symptoms at the time.

Nonetheless, Loblaws closed its location at Carlton and Church inside Ryerson's Mattamy Athletic Centre (former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs) on Sunday for "a thorough deep cleaning and sanitization."

"We understand that you may have questions and want to assure you we take your safety, and the safety of our team, very seriously," wrote the company in a statement.

"We have a number of protocols in place at the store-level, including daily sanitization and social distancing practices to minimize the risk of exposure to our customers and team members."

The company said that it will be working with local public health officials "on any further directions" and that the store is expected to reopen as usual sometime on Monday.

Customers are leery, however, in light of how long it took for Loblaws to report this and other confirmed cases of COVID-19 among employees at its stores.

A major outbreak at the company's Dupont and Christie location went unreported for weeks, according to employees who spoke with blogTO earlier this month, and multiple customers reported testing positive for the virus after shopping there.

"So yet another Loblaws worker tested positive for COVID-19... and you're still not mandating that all employees and shoppers wear masks?" tweeted one local at the company  after learning of the Maple Leaf Gardens cases.

"Do you have a webpage where you list all COVID-19 cases?" asked another. "Metro has a website that lists their COVID cases in all their stores, why can't I find a list for Loblaws stores (include superstore, no frills)?"

Loblaws has not yet responded to queries about why it doesn't publicly list COVID-19 cases or if it ever will.

by Lauren O'Neil via blogTO

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