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Are NYC grocery stores secretly administering coronavirus tests?

Elsewhere, supermarkets have begun taking customers' temperatures.

By
Emma Orlow
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While antibody tests have become more widely available across the tri-state area—at places such as CityMD urgent care centers—there are a few more unlikely venues that you can allegedly head to learn more about your exposure level.

A report by the New York Post shares that "Governor Cuomo has quietly begun recruiting grocery stores in a bid to widen the state’s coronavirus testing program." According to the paper, participating supermarkets include several locations of Fine Fare, which "has administered upwards of 200 antibody tests a day inside the stores" says Rudy Fuertes, president of Fteley Food Corp., which operates Fine Fare markets. 

A few weeks ago, some upstate locations of Wegmans were tapped as part of Cuomo's 3,000 planned supermarket locations for antibody sampling.

We called all locations of Fine Fare in Brooklyn and the Bronx and spoke with staff members who denied knowledge of the programs, which could be consistent with the low-key nature of the testing. There may also be the fear that public knowledge of positive tests at these markets could hurt business, as Fuertes noted in the Post. Time Out New York called Fuertes for comment and he confirmed that testing had taken place at his store in the Bronx at 1221 Fteley Avenue last week but would not expand on this any further nor confirm whether there had been other testing sites or others planned for the future. An employee at this location backed this up and said that while testing had taken place, it was "no longer happening" at Fteley Avenue

Another reported testing site is the Key Foods in Williamsburg (575 Grand Street), but we recently stopped by in attempt to receive a test; employees there denied testing was taking place and we also saw no evidence of testing that was immediately accessible.

Antibody testing is not the only measure being taken. In addition to markets following the usual hygiene protocols of mask-wearing and other forms of sanitization, some supermarkets have begun using devices to measure temperature.

Elsewhere on the Jackson Heights-Elmhurst border in Queens, the large Asian supermarket New York Mart (75-01 Broadway) has begun taking temperatures of prospective customers upon entry, a Time Out New York staff member witnessed. And while it's a thoughtful safety measure, it's also worth noting that temperature tests don't necessarily confirm whether an individual is currently carrying the virus, as many people don't display any of the associated symptoms like fevers, loss of taste or smell and body aches.

Have you been to a supermarket where you’ve gotten your temperature taken or had access to a coronavirus test? We’d love to hear from you: food.ny@timeout.com. We will update this post as we learn more.  

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