Submitted by Lewis County Public Health & Social Services
Lewis County Public Health & Social Services (“LCPHSS”) and United Natural Foods, Inc. (“UNFI” or the “Company”) today announced that due to a recent increase in COVID-19 cases among individuals at its Centralia distribution center, the Company is voluntarily suspending full operations at the facility on a temporary basis. This voluntary suspension of full operations will begin Sunday, August 1 and is anticipated to run through Saturday, August 7.
UNFI, which places the highest priority on the safety and wellbeing of its associates, is collaborating closely with LCPHSS. The Company is taking all necessary steps to continue mitigating risk at the facility, including by sustaining its comprehensive deep clean and sanitation programs.
During the period in which the voluntary suspension of full operations is in effect, UNFI will:
- Continue to compensate associates;
- Continue to meet the essential needs of certain Centralia distribution center customers, including military commissaries;
- Leverage pre-existing contingency plans to meet customers’ needs through other distribution centers, to the extent possible, and;
Maintain ongoing communication with local government officials and other partners.
Before returning to work, UNFI will require individuals at its Centralia distribution center to have two negative COVID-19 tests to further mitigate the risk of transmission. The Company has previously hosted on-site vaccination clinics, encourages associates to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine and will continue to promote the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine to its associate base. The Company is continuing to follow Center for Disease Control guidance and is sustaining the following procedures at the facility which have been in place during the pandemic:
Requiring mandatory mask wearing;
- Instituting enhanced equipment and facility sanitation;
- Maintaining on-site vaccine clinics open to associates and their families (supported LCPHSS);
- Maintaining a robust, ongoing testing program consisting of PCR testing at a 3-4 day interval (supported by the Washington State Department of Health);
- Maintaining strict social distancing enforcement, and;
- Conducting frequent symptom checks.
UNFI’s actions in Centralia reflect the Company’s ongoing commitment to maintaining robust safety and risk management practices to combat COVID-19. The Company’s efforts have been nationally recognized and are helping keep the food supply chain flowing throughout the pandemic.