Mercer Island closes thrift shop to disinfect after potential coronavirus exposure

A spouse of a thrift shop employee has a suspected case of coronavirus.

The city of Mercer Island closed its thrift shop on Tuesday, March 3, because of a suspected novel coronavirus case.

The city sent out a press release on March 3 announcing that the thrift shop would be closed because the spouse of a thrift shop employee had a suspected, but not confirmed, case of COVID-19. According to the press release, the spouse had not yet reached the Center for Disease Control’s standard for testing.

“There simply aren’t enough test kits at this time, so they are being reserved only for critically ill patients, per CDC and health department guidance,” said Ross Freeman, communications manager for the city. “As soon as the employee’s spouse exhibited signs of a possible flu-like illness, the employee self-quarantined at home, which is the recommended practice per public health guidelines.”

Freeman confirmed Wednesday morning that the thrift shop would re-open at 1 p.m. on Wednesday and return to regular hours.

“The city takes seriously the safety of our Thrift Shop patrons, volunteers and staff, and the Thrift Shop will remain closed until the facility can be cleaned and disinfected in alignment with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) standards,” the city wrote in the press release.

According to Freeman, the city has sent out notifications for the thrift shop closure via all possible channels such as press releases, social media posts, emails to staff and volunteers, and a poster on the thrift shop door. Freeman said there are not currently any other known potential exposures at city facilities.

The city also challenged its residents to respond with care as King County grapples with responding to the coronavirus.

“During this time of heightened anxiety, our community values may be tested,” the city wrote. “The city asks all residents to continue to demonstrate compassion and care as we navigate this rapidly evolving global health situation in our own neighborhoods.”