A series of O’Reilly Auto Parts employees came down with COVID-19 back in July of 2020, and officials were able to track down the source: poor working conditions. Now, O’Reilly will be hosting vaccination events as part of a settlement with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED), local news station KRQE reports.
Three O’Reilly Auto Parts employees suffered from COVID-19 in July 2020, with one of those employees ultimately dying due to complications with the virus. The store changed its policies soon after, and since then, no one has fallen ill.
NMED issued two citations to that particular store in Lovington, New Mexico in January of 2021 because the particular conditions at the store violated workplace safety laws. And while it’s great that no one else grown ill, there’s a little bit of compensation to be had here. That’s why O’Reilly is now going to be hosting 11 vaccination events at its stores throughout New Mexico.
Here’s more from the Los Alamos Daily Post:
“There is nothing more important than getting New Mexicans vaccinated and our settlement with O’Reilly Auto Parts prioritizes that outcome,” NMED Cabinet Secretary James Kenney said. “All employers must work with their employees to help them get vaccinated. Our employees are our friends and families – now is the time to protect them from illness or death by encouraging vaccination.”
As part of the settlement, O’Reilly also has to pay the state $34,750. That’s going to New Mexico’s general fund, which is used for various projects and health assurances throughout the state.
This, though, is the second time O’Reilly has been part of a COVID-19 workplace safety concern. Back at the start of 2021, a Santa Fe store was charged $79,200 after a health inspection found that few employees wore masks or even post mandatory signs encouraging customers to wear masks. In that case, complaints from the community prompted the investigation; no one had passed from COVID-19.