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New Mexico is closing grocery stores if four of its employees test positive for the virus for two weeks.

Whether behind the cash register, storing milk, or unloading shipments of toilet paper, grocery store workers have risked their safety for months to earn a paycheck and make necessities available to Americans, even as the premium. the risk that some companies once offered has decreased and the government has decreased. the benefits are drying up.

But as more workers fall ill, more supermarkets may be forced to close. In New Mexico this month, health officials ordered 23 stores and restaurants to close for two weeks because of sick workers.

Walmart, Albertsons, Target and McDonald’s stores have all been affected. Some remained open after being ordered to close, The Albuquerque Journal reported. And in some places, the lines multiply.

“I think everyone’s kind of like, ‘Oh no, we have to go shopping. Everything will close, ”Anna Hagele told the newspaper. She was in line with about 40 other people outside an Albertsons.

Democrat Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham defended the unpopular closures at a virtual press conference this week. Some shoppers have complained to local media about long lines of panicked shoppers at stores that remain open.

“You can’t have a grocery store or other big box store that sells groceries if all of their employees – or the vast majority of them – have Covid,” Ms. Lujan Grisham said. “There’s so much of this infection that it’s right inside the places you need to access it.”

The state is ordering stores to close for two weeks if they have four separate instances of an employee testing positive for the virus over a two-week period. At least 14 businesses are subject to closure orders, some of which will not be allowed to reopen until December 2.

A sharp increase in cases of the virus in New Mexico – the average number of cases reported each day this week is up 127% from the week before – has led the state to issue some of the toughest restrictions of all states in recent weeks.

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