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Hampden Lane Liquor & Wine Store Reopens After Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Montgomery County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) reopened the Hampden Lane Liquor & Wine store in Bethesda today, more than two weeks after a store employee tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was not feeling well on Wednesday, March 25, and was sent home. The employee subsequently tested positive for the virus. After quarantine and medical treatment, the employee is now doing well and has been cleared to return to work. 

Additional store employees were sent home for two weeks with administrative pay to self-isolate and monitor for symptoms. A specialized team was brought in over multiple days to disinfect every bottle, item and surface in the store.

“We’ve thoroughly cleaned the Hampden store and have asked all our staff who have come into contact with the employee to voluntarily self-quarantine for two weeks,” said ABS Retail Chief Kent Massie. “Thankfully, no other employees have shown symptoms after the two-week period and have returned to reopen the store.”

In addition to deep cleaning, all ABS stores now have plexiglass at each register to create a barrier between consumers and staff, and hand sanitizer stations have been set up at the front doors. Staff is frequently disinfecting surfaces and is encouraging social distancing of at least six feet. Signage reminding customers to engage in social distancing and of the County health order requiring residents to wear cloth face coverings while shopping, have been posted in each store. ABS employees are limiting the number of people who can shop at one time to ensure distancing can be maintained.

Currently, due to staffing shortages and to limit exposure, ABS stores are operating on a single shift from noon to 7 p.m. and stores are closed on Sundays.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan’s executive order has deemed liquor stores as essential services as a part of the COVID-19 health emergency. ABS continues to strive to keep stores open while making the safety of their employees and customers their top priority.

ABS, the alcohol wholesaler of beer, wine, and spirits for Montgomery County, operates 25 beer, wine and spirits stores and manages alcohol licensing and enforcement on behalf of the Montgomery County Board of License Commissioners. Generating more than $35 million annually, ABS profits are used to pay off County debt and a large portion is deposited in the County general fund to pay for services that otherwise would be paid for with tax dollars.

For information about ABS, including store hours and locations visit the website and follow ABS on Facebook and Twitter.

For the latest COVID-19 updates, visit the County’s COVID-19 website and follow Montgomery County on Facebook and Twitter.

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Release ID: 20-195
Media Contact: Julie Parker 240-777-6507