NILES — Green Stem Provisioning shut down temporarily about 11:45 a.m. Memorial Day but will be reopening for normal hours Wednesday after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.
The business decided to close shortly after learning about the positive test for the virus so the staff could turn its attention to sanitizing the interior of the building, which has been closed to the public since around mid-March.
The business could have reopened Tuesday, but George Lynch, CEO of the family-owned business, thought it would be best to take another day to do some more cleaning and some additional projects.
Lynch said the employee — a 25-year-old male — came to work May 20 complaining that he wasn’t feeling well. He was immediately sent home and told to get tested.
The man believes he caught the virus from a good friend, and is at home self-quarantining. Because all employees are masked, gloved and maintain social distancing, it’s doubtful other employees have contracted the virus, but they’re being encouraged to get tested anyway, Lynch said.
The company also took the step of posting the information on its website and sending a text message to about 2,000 customers enrolled in its loyalty program.
“I’m sure there are lots of other retailers who have had an employee test positive,” Lynch said. “We’re trying to be open and honest because this is a pandemic.”
Greenstem, which is located 1140 S. 11th St., was open only a few weeks before the coronavirus pandemic forced it to shut its doors. Instead, it’s been offering curbside service in its large parking lot where customers place orders online or with a disposable menu.
Interactions take place via a basket, which is sanitized after each transaction. Pens are either sanitized or simply given to customers.
Gillian Conrad, spokeswoman for the Berrien County Health Department, said there have been a lot of “great examples of businesses stepping up to be transparent and provide their staff and customers with protection and peace of mind.”
Conrad said the Health Department provides guidance, but ultimately it’s up to businesses on how to implement the safety guidelines.
For Lynch, it’s about protecting customers — many of whom are considered vulnerable — as well as employees, many of whom are his friends and family members. He estimated the business lost 800 customers over the two-day shutdown.