West side Farmington Walmart remains closed as state puts store on closure list

Joshua Kellogg
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — The west side Walmart in Farmington closed temporarily Friday to have a cleaning crew sanitize the business, and it remained closed on Sunday, Nov. 8 — it's previous target date for reopening — after the state put it on a two-week closure list.

The state environment department placed the big box retailer on its daily Rapid Response COVID-19 watchlist Friday with four positive cases listed for employees, and the next day the state put the store on a two-week closure list.

On Saturday the State of New Mexico's health officials said the business would be closed until Nov. 21. Walmart said Friday it was shutting down for just two days. An inquiry to the company on Saturday by the Daily Times went unanswered.

The store was still closed as of Sunday morning and employees were turning away customers at the doors.

The Walmart Supercenter location at 1400 W. Main St. in Farmington closed at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6. Cleaning crews are expected to thoroughly sanitize and clean the building while it is closed to the public, according to a Walmart statement.

The Walmart Supercenter location at 1400 W. Main St. in Farmington is pictured on Nov. 6. A statement from the store's corporate office stated the location was temporarily closing to have a cleaning crew sanitize the building.

A statement from Walmart corporate said it is working with health officials to keep employees and customers safe and healthy.

“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts. When the store reopens (Sunday), we will continue conducting associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with facemasks and gloves,” Walmart said in a statement.

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The New Mexico Environment Department had placed the west side Walmart on its Rapid Response COVID-19 watchlist from Nov. 1 to Nov. 5.

It had two positive cases of COVID-19 among employees on Nov. 1, with the number of cases rising to four on Nov. 5.

Employees of the Walmart Supercenter location at 1400 W. Main St. in Farmington turned away customers on Nov. 8 as the store remained closed following its inclusion on a state closure list due to reported COVID-19 cases among employees. The store closed at 2 p.m. on Nov. 6. and had been set to reopen Nov. 8.

The list includes businesses statewide which had two or more rapid responses in the last 14 days.

The west side Walmart was the only Farmington business on the list for Nov. 5.

The state environment department will refer any establishment with four or more rapid responses within a two-week period to the New Mexico Department of Health, which would evaluate and make a decision regarding closure.

The statement from Walmart did not discuss or address the four positive COVID-19 case for employees listed by the State of New Mexico.

Customers with curbside pickup orders for Nov. 7 will still have their orders processed.

Any early Black Friday sales prices will be honored on Nov. 8 when the store reopens, Friday's press release said.

Note: This story was updated on Nov. 8 to note that the store remained closed that day. As of Nov. 9 the state has listed six rapid responses at the store over the past 14 days, and two at the Walmart on East Main Street. Walmart had not returned calls for comment as of Nov. 9.

Joshua Kellogg covers breaking news for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4627 or via email at jkellogg@daily-times.com.

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