aptos new leaf

SANTA CRUZ COUNTY—New Leaf Community Market closed its new Aptos location on Saturday for a one-day deep cleaning after an employee there tested positive for COVID-19.

Store officials said that the closure was voluntary.

“While healthy authorities have not required us to close the store, we are choosing to do so to deep clean and care for our staff,” the store stated in a press release. 

The store hired a third-party sanitation company to complete the cleaning.

The employee is in self-isolation at home, the company said, and is being compensated for the leave of absence.

The diagnosed staff member last worked in the store on April 13. 

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and public health authorities is for anyone who has been in prolonged close contact with a person who tests positive for COVID-19 to self-quarantine. 

“We are working to identify any other staff who may have been in prolonged close contact with the affected individual,” the company stated. “We will pay staff while they are home and work closely to ensure their health before they return to work.”

The store is currently scheduling employees who did not come into prolonged close contact with the employee who tested positive for COVID-19. 

Grocery stores are among the essential businesses listed by state officials that can remain open under shelter-in-place restrictions during the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

Many have shortened their hours and limited the numbers of customers that are allowed inside at a time. That policy has resulted in lines forming outside many businesses.

Stores have also implemented stringent cleaning policies, and many require customers to stay six feet away from each other while lining up to pay for their groceries. 

Meanwhile, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released a set of guidelines for shoppers, including shopping for only 1-2 weeks at a time. 

“Buying more than you need can create unnecessary demand and temporary shortages,” the FDA website says.

There is no evidence of COVID-19 being spread via grocery packaging, according to the FDA.

Aptos Natural Foods in Aptos is the first store in the county to require face masks for entry.

New Leaf Community Markets is part of Portland, Ore.-based New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets. The company has five locations in Aptos, Capitola, Half Moon Bay, and Santa Cruz.

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