Langley’s Costco store recorded five COVID-19 cases among employees during December, but virtually none in January, company notices show.
Copies of “dear employees” postings, provided to the Langley Advance Times by an employee on condition of anonymity, show staff were advised of five COVID-19 cases in December, the first one a case where a worker tested positive on Dec. 7.
Other positive tests of Costco staff were reported to have taken place on Dec. 15, Dec. 19, Dec. 20, and Dec. 21.
There were no reports of positive tests in the first three weeks of January.
A WorkSafe BC inspector visited the store on Dec. 7, and was told by the employer representative that “currently there are no active COVID-19 cases at the workplace.”
The report, released by WorkSafe on request from the Langley Advance Times, noted the store employs 400 people, with 280 on site when the inspection took place.
Filed on Dec. 8, the inspector noted multiple precautions were being taken to limit the spread of the coronovirus, among them spacing computer stations in the main store office, maintaining Plexiglas barriers at points of contact such as sales counters, and also in washrooms and where in-store product demonstrations are being carried out.
Costco operates with a mandatory mask policy, the inspector recounted, with the exception of some workers who can show medical evidence why they cannot wear a mask, and are required to wear a face shield instead.
During the inspection, the report said, the employer representative “stated there was an occupancy [limit] sign at the produce cooler but it was no longer present,” which was addressed under recommendations, where the report said occupancy limit signs should be posted to all rooms and areas.
It also said workstations in the main office should be six feet apart, and called for an additional divider between desks in the main office.
In November, company notices show that after the management of the store, located at 20499 64th Ave. in Willowbrook, reported one staffer tested positive in September, and another in October, there was a spike in November.
Four positive tests were reported in two weeks; on Nov. 11, 16, 24 and 25.
Costco did not respond to an emailed request for comment on the December cases.
Effective Nov. 16, Costco Canada began requiring all members to wear masks or face shields while shopping.
Children under two are exempt.
Costco CEO Craig Jelinek said members who used to be exempt because they had medical conditions that prevented them from wearing a mask, will have to wear a face shield.
“This updated policy may seem inconvenient to some, however we believe the added safety is worth any inconvenience,” Jelinek said.