H-E-B employees test positive for coronavirus

H-E-B in Brownsville reported three new cases among staff this week. As both employee and public cases continue to rise, petitions have circulated online calling on the grocery chain to require that all customers wear masks.

H-E-B on Thursday confirmed it hasn’t altered its store-wide policy, but in response to the order requiring facial coverings signed by Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr. on June 17, hung banners outside its local stores advising customers to wear masks.

“H-E-B’s policy has not changed. H-E-B has followed ordinances issued by local governments and will continue to follow those orders. H-E-B has consistently encouraged our customers to wear mask or face coverings while in our stores,” wrote H-E-B border region senior manager for public affairs Linda Tovar.

At the store’s Boca Chica Boulevard location, the banner read that all customers must wear masks in accordance with “local ordinance and state protocol for the health of our fellow Texans.”

Cases were reported at the Boca Chica, Central Boulevard, and Southmost H-E-B locations this week. Temporary updates posted on stores’ individual websites stated that an employee at the Boca Chica Boulevard store tested positive on June 24 and was last in the store on June 18.

“All directly affected Partners at the location have been notified and the store has been deep cleaned and sanitized multiple times since then,” wrote H-E-B. The sentence is standard and is used in each notice of a new case.

On June 20, an employee at the Central Boulevard location tested positive. That employee was last in the store on June 15, according to H-E-B’s website.

“At our stores, we continue to enforce proper social distancing practices, strict sanitation and require the use of masks or facial covering by all our Partners and vendors in customer facing and close contact positions,” wrote H-E-B in its standard response.

At the H-E-B on Southmost Boulevard, an employee that was last in the store on June 14 tested positive on Wednesday.

H-E-B locations elsewhere in the Cameron County reported new cases. In San Benito at the West Business 77 location, an employee last in the store on June 22 tested positive on Wednesday.

An employee at the store on Highway 100 in Port Isabel tested positive on Tuesday. That employee was last in the store on June 15.

Cases were also reported in Harlingen, where H-E-B has several locations.

At the store on Commerce Street in Harlingen, an employee tested positive on Monday. That employee was last in the store two days before, on June 20. Another employee tested positive on June 20 at the H-E-B on Morgan Boulevard and Grimes and was last in the store on June 13.