Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19 After Holiday Party at Benicia Raley's

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A holiday gathering at a North Bay grocery store has led to COVID-19 concerns after one of the employees in attendance tested positive.

The party took place Christmas Eve at the Raley's supermarket in Benicia.

Chelsea Minor, a spokesperson for Raley's, said employees at the store did indeed attend a company Christmas Eve buffet and they are taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

"We take full responsibility for the actions of our local team in Benicia that didn’t follow protocol," Minor said.

Photos from The Benicia Independent, which said the pictures were posted on the store’s Facebook page, show people not wearing masks, or even when they were, not social distancing. Raley's said a few days later a team member who was at the party tested positive for COVID-19.

Benicia Mayor Steve Young on Tuesday shared his concerns on social media.

"The manager who went out sick right after the party, there were a number of people who were photographed sitting close to him and those people are still working," he said.

Customers also said they’re troubled.

"I just think everybody should follow the rules," customer Patty Small said. "It protects us all if they do."

Raley’s insisted the store has learned from its mistake. They said rigorous safety measures are in place. They even have cleaning marshals on duty constantly cleaning surfaces. Cashiers wash their hands every 30 minutes. While the store won’t prohibit non-maskers from entering, Raley’s said it encourages customers to wear them.

"We are committed to safety and high levels of sanitation at our location and believe that this is an isolated incident," Minor said.

Raley’s said it has been transparent about its COVID-19 cases, posting each one to its website. They say there have been six cases since March at the Benicia store but no outbreaks.

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