Barnhart: Wegmans Should be Transparent About COVID-19

Wegmans employee at Perinton store tests positive for COVID-19 (Democrat and Chronicle)

Monroe County Legislator Rachel Barnhart called on Wegmans to immediately reveal how many of its workers have tested positive for COVID-19 and the location of their jobs.

13WHAM News reported today that a Wegmans worker tested positive for the coronavirus and has been absent since March 22. The company kept this information from workers, even ignoring employee rumors and questions.

“Employees and customers have a right to know if frontline workers in this crisis test positive for COVID-19,” said Barnhart. “They deserve to make informed choices. In keeping this information secret, Wegmans damaged trust with its customers, workers and the community.”

Barnhart also calls on Wegmans to encourage its workers to wear masks. Wegmans still discourages mask use among its employees, saying in handouts that wearing masks is “not a Wegmans recommended practice.”

Until late last week, Wegmans did not allow workers to wear facial coverings. Though the company announced it would allow workers to wear masks last Thursday, workers who inquired were told they had to be medical grade masks. Late the next day, Wegmans emailed some employees that they could wear homemade coverings. Managers report being told – and documents back this up – that they were instructed not to proactively tell workers that they could wear masks. There is inconsistency and confusion among stores and workers about this policy.

“Employees who are expected to work should be fully informed of the risks and encouraged to protect themselves. Wegmans is doing neither,” Barnhart said.