COLUMBUS, Miss. (WTVA) - The Lowe’s home improvement store in Columbus is set to reopen Friday morning after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
A local manager of the store confirmed an employee tested positive for the coronavirus on Tuesday, March 31, according to a City of Columbus news release.
Mayor Robert Smith ordered the store closed Wednesday night.
Smith met with the district manager and Lowe’s legal department Thursday morning to receive assurance the store will be safe to reopen on Friday.
“We have to protect the employees of the store and our citizens and the only way to do this is to follow the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” Smith said Thursday. “Lowe’s is a great corporate member of our community. Lowe’s has agreed to follow the CDC and Mississippi Department of Health guidelines for cleaning the store. We look forward to the store reopening Friday and I greatly appreciate the cooperation of the corporate management."
The company later issued this statement:
The well-being of our associates and customers is Lowe’s priority, and we can confirm one case of COVID-19 at our Columbus store, located at 2301 Woodmont Dr. The associate has been quarantined and is receiving care. This associate last worked on March 31. The store has been extensively cleaned per CDC guidelines and will reopen tomorrow at 6 a.m.
Below are measures we’re taking in stores that were announced today. Lowe’s also announced a temporary $2 an hour wage increase for all full-time, part-time and seasonal hourly associates for the hours they work at Lowe’s stores, contact centers and supply chain facilities in the U.S. and Canada for the month of April. The press release is linked here if you’d like to read our latest updates.
- We will be closing all stores at 7 p.m. daily to ensure additional time to replenish essential products and thoroughly clean and sanitize our stores daily.
- We developed an app to implement a new customer limit protocol, available now on associates’ handheld devices. Each store manager can now monitor foot traffic and limit entrance based on CDC and local guidelines.
- We are enhancing our social distancing protocols by adding dedicated social distancing ambassadors who will be responsible for monitoring customer flow in our garden centers and front-end areas and enforce customer limits to allow proper social distancing.
- We also made substantial updates to our store floor layouts to further support the CDC’s guidelines for social distancing, such as opening up aisle space by removing displays. These changes will make it easier for both associates and customers to get the items they need quickly and safely. Specific examples include:
- Removed product from the main aisle to help maintain safe distance.
- Removed racking and tables in other aisles to open up space.
- Expanded the area for customers leveraging our Buy Online, Pick Up In Store option or making a return
- Added floor markers spaced 6-feet apart to help guide customers
- We have installed customized Plexiglass shields at all points of sale to protect our cashiers and customer service associates working the return desk, one of the first retailers to do so.
- We increased third-party cleaning shifts to provide incremental cleaning in our stores, beyond already enhanced daily cleaning efforts.