The New Bedford Board of Health has ordered the Walgreens at 1103 Kempton Street to close until the store and pharmacy can demonstrate it is free of the novel coronavirus.

In an April 3 cease and desist order, the New Bedford Health Department says it was notified that "several store employees who worked recently at the Walgreens store" have tested positive for COVID-19.

The Walgreens store previously confirmed that two employees had tested positive, and said they left the job site on March 13 and have not returned. On March 25, a third employee reportedly left and has since tested positive.

City Health Director Damon Chaplin issued the cease and desist order Friday ordering the Walgreens to close until it has met certain conditions. The store must provide documentation that it has performed enhanced cleaning and disinfection in compliance with CDC guidelines, removed all employees suspected or confirmed to be infected with COVID-19, and only allowed other employees to return with authorization from a physician.

Walgreens reportedly did not tell the New Bedford Health Department of the positive cases until April 1, the Office of Mayor Jon Mitchell told the The Standard-Times. The notification came after the newspaper started inquiring about the matter.

The Walgreens store may only reopen with written authorization from the New Bedford Health Department. The order threatens fines or court action if the store does not comply.

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