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South Medford Walmart closed for cleaning

A Walmart employee wears a face mask and a yellow vest in this photo dated April 29, 2020. The company temporarily closed the south Medford store Sunday afternoon and Monday to “thoroughly clean and sanitize the building.” The store will reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday. Walmart photo.

One of Medford’s two Walmart stores is closed as crews “thoroughly clean and sanitize the building.”

The store at 1360 Center Drive is scheduled to reopen at 6 a.m. Tuesday after a deep clean as part of a company-initiated program stemming from the rise in delta variant COVID-19 cases in Southern Oregon, according to a statement from the company about the store closure that began Sunday afternoon.

“This will allow extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the store and will also give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store once again to serve the community,” the statement reads in part.

The company states that the deep clean is because “we want to assist health officials working against the pandemic.”

“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and the thousands of customers we serve daily and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control and health experts,” the company states.

“Given the rise in positive cases through the delta variant, we will follow CDC guidance, which includes fully vaccinated people wearing masks in public indoor settings in counties with substantial or high transmission.”

The company says it conducts regular employee health assessments, and all unvaccinated employees are required to wear face coverings.

Employees — referred to as “associates” by the company — are offered easy access to COVID-19 vaccines through vaccinations at store pharmacies on or off the clock, or may take up to two hours of paid leave to get their vaccine at another site.

“Associates who receive the vaccine are given a $150 bonus for doing so and up to three days paid leave should they experience an adverse reaction to the vaccine,” the company states.

The Medford store is not listed as the site of a workplace COVID-19 outbreak, according to the Oregon Health Authority outbreak report issued Wednesday. Jackson County Public Health spokesperson Tanya Phillips said in a Monday morning email that she was not aware of any investigations at the store.

Walmart does have outbreak investigations at four other locations in Oregon, including an outbreak at the supercenter in Grants Pass. The Josephine County workplace outbreak began July 29, and as of last week was linked to 14 cases, with the most recent reported Aug. 8.

The other three Walmart outbreak investigations are in Umatilla County, including stores in Hermiston and Pendleton, and at a distribution center in Hermiston.

Reach web editor Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or nmorgan@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @MTCrimeBeat.