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June 23, 2024
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McDonald’s workers file health complaints

Restaurant closes for cleaning after employee tests positive for Covid-19

A group of employees at a Gilroy McDonald’s filed complaints to the county and state June 15, alleging that management endangered workers by not immediately notifying them of a staff member who tested positive of Covid-19.

The owner/operator, meanwhile, said the restaurant took swift action in order to protect its employees and customers.

In complaints filed with the Santa Clara County Department of Environmental Health and the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health, three employees of the 6990 Automall Parkway McDonald’s stated that there are “many lapses in Covid-19 safety practices in our workplace.”

According to the complaint, workers learned through a family member that a coworker’s husband tested positive for Covid-19 on May 28. However, the coworker, who later tested positive themselves, continued to work in the store until June 1, the workers stated, adding that management had not confirmed the case until days later.

Workers alleged that when they told their managers that they wanted to quarantine because of the possible exposure, they were informed that they would not be paid for the time off. The workers also stated that there are lax procedures in sanitizing high-touch areas used by employees, as well as a lack of temperature checking and social distancing.

The workers urged the county and state to close the location for a deep cleaning, as well as quarantine every worker until they are cleared through testing and contact tracing.

Steve Peat, who owns various McDonald’s restaurants across the state including the Automall Parkway location, said management learned of the case several days after the employee received their test result. The employee had not worked in the restaurant since June 1, he said.

“Upon learning of the positive Covid-19 test on June 8, we individually informed all employees who may have been in close contact with the employee who tested positive and advised they self-quarantine for 14 days,” Peat said. “We immediately closed the restaurant for deep cleaning in accordance with CDC guidelines and also hired a professional cleaning company for a secondary sanitization. In addition, we informed Santa Clara Department of Health of the positive test result and steps we took to protect all employees.”

He added that the employee who tested positive received sick pay, as did the employees who were asked to self-quarantine.

Prior to county mandates, the restaurant installed protective barriers throughout the building, and continues to enforce “rigorous hand-washing procedures,” social distancing and temperature checks, Peat said, adding that his organization hired local seamstresses and funded more than $18,000 in personal protective equipment for its 750 employees across all locations.

Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub
Erik Chalhoub joined Weeklys as an editor in 2019. Prior to his current position, Chalhoub worked at The Pajaronian in Watsonville for seven years, serving as managing editor from 2014-2019.

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