**Update, Friday June 26: Sheetz has reopened.**
Sheetz gas station and food mart, located on Old Franklin Turnpike in Rocky Mount, temporarily closed Wednesday after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
Nick Ruffner, public relations manager for Sheetz, said the employee last worked at this store location on June 19.
“Our top priority is the health and wellness of our customers and employees,” Ruffner said. “Because of this positive test, this store location was immediately closed and is being professionally deep cleaned, sanitized and disinfected before it will reopen.”
Jenn Donahue, a public relations officer for the company, said the protocol is for a third-party company to come in and perform the cleaning service. However, reopening is dependent on the store having enough staff to do so.
“Once the cleaning is done, it is safe to open the store, however, it depends on how many staff the store has and how many came in contact with the ill employee,” Donahoe said. “Any staff who came in contact with the (ill) employee must quarantine for 14 days and they will receive full pay during that time.”
Ruffner said all employees will be fully paid while the store is closed.
While staff numbers were not immediately available, Donahoe said the average staff for a Sheetz store ranges between 25 and 30 employees.
An exact date for reopening was not available.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused by this closure and will continue to prioritize the well-being of our customers and employees as we join the nation in navigating this unprecedented health crisis,” Ruffner said.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, Franklin County is up to 53 positive cases, with five of the reported patients having been hospitalized. To the south, Henry County has climbed to 232 cases while Martinsville has 70.
On Wednesday the West Piedmont Helth District confirmed Patrick County’s first two fatalities. Patrick County has confirmed 39 cases of COVID-19.