FACT CHECK: Have Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Target And Costco Had No Reported COVID-19 Cases?

Trevor Schakohl | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims that Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Target and Costco have not had any COVID-19 cases among their employees reported in the news.

Verdict: False

Media outlets across the country have reported on positive cases of COVID-19 among Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, Target and Costco employees.

Fact Check:

The Facebook post makes the claim while questioning why some small businesses and meatpacking plants have been shut down or prevented from reopening.

“All of these companies have not had any reported cases in the news,” reads the post. “Yet, every employee in these companies encounters thousands of people a day. None of these companies have closed stores. However all of a sudden all the meat packing plants are closing and small businesses are still not allowed to open. None of this makes any sense at all.”

In reality, the five companies mentioned in the post have had employees test positive for coronavirus, and media outlets have reported on it. (RELATED: Does This Video Show Defective Medical Gowns Made In China?)

Local media outlets have widely reported on COVID-19 infections among Walmart employees in recent weeks. For instance, CBS affiliate WRGB reported that two Walmart employees had tested positive for coronavirus. A Walmart store in Massachusetts closed in April after 23 employees tested positive, according to local affiliate NBC10.

Reuters reported in late March that 19 Amazon warehouses across the U.S. had positive cases of COVID-19. Other media outlets have also documented cases among Amazon employees at company facilities in New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Florida.

13 employees at 10 different Kroger stores in the Louisville, Kentucky, division tested positive for COVID-19, according to local ABC affiliate WHAS.

There have been cases among Target employees in states such as North Dakota, Texas and Virginia, per media reports. Target employees in Georgia, North Carolina and California have also tested positive.

In late March, BuzzFeed News reported that Costco employees said managers in at least eight locations informed staff that a coworker had tested positive. (RELATED: Did Walmart Introduce A Staggered Shopping Schedule By Age Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic?)

The post’s claim that “none of these companies have closed stores” doesn’t hold up either. Amazon closed a warehouse indefinitely in Kentucky after three workers testing positive in March, according to Business Insider. A Walmart in Colorado was also closed by local authorities in late April after eight employees tested positive for COVID-19, Bloomberg reported.

Essential small businesses, like local grocery stores and pet stores, have been permitted to stay open under stay-at-home orders. As some states have started lifting restrictions aimed to curb the spread of coronavirus, nonessential small businesses such as gyms, nail salons and tattoo parlors have been able to reopen, according to CNBC.

President Donald Trump issued an executive order in late April meant to reopen or keep meatpacking facilities open by designating them “critical infrastructure.”

Trevor Schakohl

Fact Check Reporter
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