Evergreen Park mayor suspends Walmart’s liquor license, requests investigation after COVID-19 employee deaths

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EVERGREEN PARK, Ill. — The mayor of Evergreen Park has suspended the liquor license of a Walmart that recently had two employees die of COVID-19.

Mayor Jim Sexton told WGN Friday that he inquired about the deaths of Phillip Thomas, 48, and Wando Evans, 51, several days ago after it was reported on social media that they both fell ill.

Sexton said he called the Walmart, located at 95th and Western, and was told that everything was fine. He feels Walmart told “half-truths” about the situation and feels, not only fellow employees, but the public, has been put at risk.

As a result, Sexton has suspended the liquor license of the Walmart and asked the county to investigate the matter further.

Phillip Thomas would have turned 49 on Easter. He worked at the Walmart for the last nine years. However a few weeks ago, he got sick and could barely stand up without fainting. He died Sunday at Jackson Park hospital from complications related to COVID-19.

“This is the first sibling that we lost and my mother is devastated,” his sister said.

She said doctors told Thomas to self-quarantine before admitting him.

“I’m truly upset with the doctors because they told him to self quarantine himself, but he was a diabetic so he didn’t know all that was going on.”

Thomas wasn’t the only employee to the get the virus and die.

Wando Evans was an overnight maintenance worker employed since 2006. He recently contracted COVID-19 and died.

“There are no words to express the loss of the two associates at our Evergreen Park store and we are mourning alongside their families. Neither associate had been at the store for at least the last week,” Walmart said in a statement.

The company also said neither employee had been at work in more than a week. The store is open and the company said the store passed an inspection from the health department. An outside company was also hired for additional cleaning, Walmart said.

The company has not said if any other employees at that location have been infected.

Evans’ family has reached out to an attorney to see if they may take legal action against the store.

“The moment that Wando approached them and indicated, ‘listen I have these symptoms,’ certain measures should have been taking place on Walmart’s end,” attorney Tony Kalogerako told us.

Thomas’ funeral was Friday. Family said only 10 people were allowed to be there.


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