The line waiting to get into Whole Foods on Telegraph Ave. The store was only allowing 40 customers in the store at a time Physical distancing was in practice in the line. Photo: Pete Rosos
The line waiting to get into Whole Foods on Telegraph Avenue on March 23. Photo: Pete Rosos

An employee at the Whole Foods Market on Telegraph Avenue tested positive for COVID-19 and is currently in quarantine, the grocery store chain confirmed Thursday.

The case was first reported to employees in a text message alert on Tuesday at 6 p.m. The store remains open.

“The safety of our Team Members and customers is our top priority and we are diligently following all guidance from local health and food safety  authorities,” a Whole Foods spokesperson said in a statement. “We’ve been working closely with our store Team Members,  and are supporting the diagnosed Team Member,  who is  in quarantine.”

Whole Foods workers nationwide held a “sick-out” at the end of March to demand extra protection, sick leave and pay during the COVID-19 crisis, but both Berkeley stores remained open throughout the protest.

The grocery chain said it is following social-distancing guidelines and crowd-control measures, along with installing plexiglass barriers at checkout. It’s also requiring temperature checks and face masks for all employees, according to a spokesperson.

Since March, there have been confirmed cases of COVID-19 at Whole Foods stores throughout the country, and employees have died of the virus in Southern California, ConnecticutPortland and Boston. According to a crowdsourced list created by an employee, 340 workers have contracted the virus, VICE reported.

Last month an employee at the Noe Valley Whole Foods in San Francisco was diagnosed with COVID-19 and sent home to quarantine, according to Mission Local. The store said it performed “a professional deep cleaning and disinfection, on top of [its] current enhanced sanitation measures,” “out of an abundance of caution,” although the store remained open.

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Supriya Yelimeli is a housing and homelessness reporter for Berkeleyside and joined the staff in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and...