UPDATE: This is the email that a Walmart communications representative sent to News Channel 3, after we contacted the company asking for comment on the store closure in Palm Desert:
“As an essential business and member of the Palm Desert community, we understand the role we play in providing our customers with food, medicine and other essential items during this unprecedented time. We also understand Coachella Valley has been hit especially hard by COVID-19.
“We have decided to close our Palm Desert store at 34500 Monterey Ave to the public at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 20 and all day Sunday, June 21 as part of a company-initiated program. This will allow extra time for a third-party specialist to further sanitize the store. It will also give our associates additional time to restock shelves and prepare the store to once again serve the community during this unprecedented time. We plan to reopen the store to customers at 7 a.m. on Monday, June 22.
“Everything we’re doing is for the well-being of our associates and customers, and in consideration of guidance by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and health experts. When the store reopens on Monday, we will continue to conduct associate health screens and temperature checks, and all associates will be provided with facemasks and gloves. These protocols are in addition to the extensive measures we’ve put in place during the past several weeks to help protect our associates and customers, including installing sneeze guards at registers, limiting the number of customers in a store at any one time, one-way aisle shopping, placing social distancing signage, and enacting an emergency leave policy for associates who are unable or uncomfortable coming to work.
“We will continue working closely with health officials and adjusting how we serve the community, while also keeping the health and safety of our customers and associates in mind.”
The company representative would not indicate whether store employees have tested positive for coronavirus, but wrote, "Information related to COVID-19 cases should come from local health officials".
News Channel 3 has learned that the Walmart store on Monterey Avenue in Palm Desert is closed for "deep cleaning".
A store employee has told us the store will remain closed until Monday morning at 7:00.
We sent an email to Walmart's media relations office requesting additional information.
That is all the information we have at this time.
We'll provide updates online and on-air on News Channel 3 as we receive more details.