UPDATE: Kirk Market reopens

Supermarket closes doors Saturday for deep cleaning

UPDATE (Monday): Kirk Market reopened this morning following its one-day closure Saturday for deep-cleaning after three staff members tested positive for COVID-19.

The supermarket has resumed its current operating hours of Monday-Saturday, 6am to 6pm.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and team members is our main priority. Therefore, please be reminded that all customers are required to wear face masks/coverings to enter our store, and are encouraged to practice social distancing while shopping,” the store noted in a Facebook post.

In a statement on its website, Kirk Market said it was moved by the “outpouring of support and concern for our affected team members and would like to take the opportunity to let you know how we are supporting them.”

The company stated that any Kirk Market employee excluded from work due to a COVID-related absence will be entitled to full pay; a temporary charge account for free prepared meals, groceries, and prioritised home-delivery for their household; and additional COVID-19 sick leave.

UPDATE (Saturday): Although the doors were closed at Kirk Market on Saturday, there was a flurry of activity inside the supermarket as cleaning operations commenced following confirmation that three staff members had tested positive for COVID-19.

The George Town store has been closed to the public and, according to a statement issued by the supermarket late Friday night, “additional stringent sanitation and deep-cleaning procedures” will be conducted for the entire store.

The pharmacy inside the store remains open, and will provide emergency prescription pick-up kerbside, Kirk said.

Following the closure of Kirk Market on Saturday, Foster’s supermarket extended its opening hours to 7pm to accommodate long lines of customers.

On Saturday, signs were posted outside the store notifying customers of the closure, and barriers were placed strategically to block off sections of the car park. Staff and security were all seen wearing masks and gloves.

While no one was allowed into the store, customers were able to collect floral arrangements kerbside at the entrance.

Department of Environmental Health officials were on site and indicated that they would be checking on the deep cleaning being carried out at the store.

Kirk Market said the temporary closure is part of its COVID Emergency Response Plan and it was activated when it was informed of the results by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.

“We are in contact with the affected team members who are all asymptomatic. They have our full support, and we wish them all the best in their recovery,” the statement said.

Kirk Market declined to be interviewed Saturday, but assured it will provide updates to the public when more information is available.

It said in its statement Friday that “meticulous contact tracing has been carried out to track down every colleague who has been in sustained or adjacent contact with the affected team-members”.

All close contacts with the positive individuals, it said, have been tested and excluded from work while the company awaits their results from the HSA, which is continuing to test all frontline workers throughout Grand Cayman.

Bluewater Medical sales manager Jordan Stubblefield was at the store Saturday where he delivered supplies of cleaning chemicals, which he said have been proved to be effective in killing the COVID-19 virus on surfaces.

“It is 99.99% effective. You can never say something’s 100% effective, but whatever it touches, it kills and in a safe manner. It’s not harmful to people, it’s organic and non-toxic to people,” he said.

He said the product, Artemis Bio-Oxygen Chem Decon, “can be used around food”.

He said the shipment with the cleaning chemicals had arrived on island Wednesday.

“So, we’re just starting to dispense it now. We have a multitude and we have more coming. So, for any businesses that’s going to be opening up that needs surfaces to be cleaned or carpets or, or anything of that nature, we’ll be able to supply it for them,” he said.

Medical Officer of Health Dr. Samuel Williams-Rodriguez, in response to queries from the Cayman Compass on Saturday, said the total 81 positive cases in the Cayman Islands announced at Friday’s press briefing remains the current total of confirmed cases reported to the Public Health Department.

On Friday, he announced one new positive case at the daily COVID-19 press briefing, but had said more screening tests were being run.

In his emailed response he declined to comment on the three cases involving Kirk Market staff, saying “Public Health does not give specific information of any entity or individuals under investigation.”

Williams-Rodriguez said the Cayman Islands government decided to undertake testing of public and private sector frontline staff as the best possible means of determining the spread of COVID-19 in the community, and containing the disease wherever it is found through rapid isolation measures, risk assessment and contact tracing.

“As an added precaution, Public Health will be working with businesses that return positive test results to test any other employees where the results of the investigation suggest a need.  Precisely because of the prevention and control measures that the whole country has worked with us to implement, our overall numbers of confirmed cases have remained very low even after we began frontline testing of apparently healthy personnel,” he said.

Williams-Rodriguez said local supermarkets have been visibly practising social distancing and prevention measures such as encouraging/requiring staff to wear personal protective equipment for some weeks.

He stressed that it was important that, as a country, Cayman continue to practice these prevention measures until the local transmission of COVID-19 has been eliminated.

The medical officer of health reiterated that the COVID-19 virus is spread mainly by droplets and, as such, the “general advice to the public when in a public place continues to be: practice social distancing, cough etiquette, and wear a mask in enclosed public places. Avoid touching your face until you have returned home and washed your hands thoroughly.”

He also pointed out that it should be noted that as long as these prevention measures are properly followed, “persons won’t get the coronavirus simply by ‘touching’ food.”

Shelter-in place orders are still in place on Grand Cayman, which means “we should stay home, unless it is essential”, Williams-Rodriguez added.

If anyone is concerned that they may have been in contact with a person who is COVID-19 positive or if they have flu-like symptoms, they should call the flu hotline on 1-800-534-8600 or 947-3077 or email [email protected].

Original story: Kirk Market will close its doors for a day on Saturday after three of its employees tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from the supermarket late Friday night.

As a result of the findings, the supermarket said it will be closed to the public on Saturday, 9 May, “to conduct additional stringent sanitation and deep-cleaning procedures for the entire store”.

The closure is part of its COVID Emergency Response Plan, the supermarket said.

The supermarket said it was informed of the results by the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority.

“We are in contact with the affected team members who are all asymptomatic. They have our full support, and we wish them all the best in their recovery,” the statement said.

“Meticulous contact tracing has been carried out to track down every colleague who has been in sustained or adjacent contact with the affected team-members.”

Kirk Market said that all close contacts have been tested and excluded from work while the company awaits their results from the HSA, which is continuing to test all frontline workers throughout Grand Cayman.

“The safety of our team members and customers remains our highest priority, regardless of the challenging times we now face. Please know that we are monitoring the COVID-19 situation very closely, while actively collaborating with the Health Services Authority and following all recommended guidelines,” the company added.

This week, the supermarket implemented a mandatory mask-wearing policy for customers and staff in its store.

The store’s pharmacy remained open.

Related: Frontline workers urged to take COVID tests

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I am truly sorry to hear this.

    Regular readers may remember that I have warned many times about the high risk of transmission in supermarkets, pharmacies and banks.
    This is a respiratory infection. It’s also a cunning virus because up to 50% of people who catch it are asymptomatic, they have no symptoms.
    The main way to prevent its spread is the wearing of face masks when in enclosed spaces that are outside your home.
    This should be mandatory.

    The UK didn’t agree and now has the highest number of deaths in Europe. While death rates have been substantially lower in Asian countries where face masks are standard outside the home.