Home News COVID-19 Situation Albertsons store on South Main to reopen

Albertsons store on South Main to reopen

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New Mexico officials announced a new process allowing businesses designated “essential” to avoid closures or reopen before 14 days. Albertsons Market at 1110 S. Main St. will open at 6 a.m. Wednesday after being closed Nov. 18. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

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State announces new program to keep ‘essential’ businesses from closing

The Albertsons Market store on South Main Street has received permission from the state to reopen early after a COVID-related temporary closure order was issued for that location on the evening of Nov. 18.

The store will be open 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wednesday, close Thursday for Thanksgiving and then will be open on its usual days after that, said Nancy Sharp, a spokeswoman for the corporation that owns Albertsons and other brands.

She added that stores closed in Carlsbad and Hobbs also have been allowed to reopen. A second Albertsons in Roswell, on West Second Street, never closed.

Originally the South Main Street store had been ordered shut for 14 days, or until Dec. 2, because it had recorded four or more Rapid Responses within a 14-day period. A Rapid Response is a New Mexico Environment Department response to a report of a COVID-19 positive case at a work site. The state department works with employers to clean and sanitize facilities, test employees and conduct contact tracing.

The South Main Street store was one of the New Mexico businesses that have been threatened by or affected by mandatory closures which have entered into agreements with the New Mexico Department of Health and the New Mexico Environment Department to conduct regular testing of employees — called surveillance testing — and to help with contact tracing if a COVID-19 positive test is discovered.

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The state announced the new policy Tuesday as a way to keep businesses off closure lists or allow them to reopen if they already have been closed.

According to a news release sent out by the state, businesses defined as “essential” by state public health orders can enter the agreements and submit plans for testing and contact tracing, with plans required for each location. If businesses do so, any COVID-19 case detected as a result of the testing will not count toward a closure. But data still will be reported on the state’s public Rapid Response watchlist.

“By incentivizing businesses to participate in a regular surveillance testing program, we are keeping New Mexicans safe, slowing the spread of COVID-19 and preventing additional closures of essential businesses,” said James Kenney, Cabinet Secretary for the Environment Department.

Sharp said that Albertsons had been doing daily health screenings of employees, had reminders to store customers about face coverings and social distancing, and regularly cleaned stores and the areas most often touched by staff and customers. In addition, it offered paid leave for employees who had tested positive or asked to quarantine because of close contact with someone with COVID-19.

But after its temporary closure last week, the South Main Albertsons also had a third-party company perform a “deep clean of the entire building,” Sharp said. She added that “all team members underwent COVID-19 screening.”

“We had been working very closely with state officials to meet their expectations in order to reopen,” she said.

A call to Sam’s Club, which also was temporarily closed Nov. 18, provided a recording saying the store will be closed until Dec. 2.

Senior Writer Lisa Dunlap can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 351, or at reporter02@rdrnews.com.

To keep up with local coverage of the coronavirus, go to rdrnews.com/category/news/covid-19-situation/.

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Lisa Dunlap is a general assignment reporter for the Roswell Daily Record.