Coronavirus deaths: Evergreen Park Walmart employee's family sues after COVID-19 death

EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- The family of a Walmart employee who died from COVID-19 is now suing the retailer, claiming that they did not provide protective gear.

Wando Evans, 51, worked at the store in Evergreen Park at 95th and Western, and is one of two employees who got sick and died from coronavirus. Phillip Thomas, 48, was identified as the second Evergreen Park employee who died from COVID-19.

According to the Cook County Medical Examiner, both men died from COVID-19 infection, as well as pneumonia. They both also had an underlying health condition listed as a contributing factor.

48-year-old Phillip Thomas died due to complications of COVID-19. He was one of two Evergreen Park Walmart employees who died from the coronavirus.



In the lawsuit, Evans' family claims Walmart put its employees and the public at risk by not following recommended practices like social distancing. It also claims they did not provide workers with protective gear.

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As of Saturday, Walmart began taking new action to protect customers and employees who are still reporting to work. One of those new measures includes limiting the number of shoppers in stores.

Over the weekend, Walmart said neither of these employees had been at the store for at least a week and the company said no issues were reported after a health department inspection.

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Starting Saturday, Walmart is taking new action to protect customers and employees who are still reporting to work.



A Walmart spokesperson said they are mourning along with the families, and have reinforced their cleaning and sanitizing measures.

FULL STATEMENT FROM WALMART

"We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of two associates at our Evergreen Park store, and we are mourning along with their families. While neither associate had been at the store in more than a week, we took action to reinforce our cleaning and sanitizing measures, which include a deep-cleaning of key areas of the store. Within the last week, the store passed a third-party safety and environmental compliance assessment as well as a health department inspection. We have also taken the extra precaution of bringing in an outside company to further clean and sanitize all high-touch surfaces in the store, which included the decontamination of front entrances, carts, registers and bathrooms, as well as food areas including produce and meat.

"Additionally, we have taken steps across the country to protect our associates and customers, including additional cleaning measures, installing sneeze guards at registers, placing social distancing decals on the floors and limiting the number of customers in a store at a given time. We'll continue to take steps, such as screening associates, conducting temperature checks, and providing masks and gloves for associates that want to use them.

"We've been in contact with Mayor Sexton and after sharing the steps that we've taken, we are able to continue serving the needs of the community."


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