A Walmart (WMT) in Massachusetts has been closed after 23 employees reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus.

Local officials made the decision to close the location after a cluster of cases were reported at the Worcester, Massachusetts, store, which is set to re-open on Friday after it has been deep professionally cleaned, WCVB, an ABC affiliate out of Needham, Massachusetts reported.

About 400 employees that also work at the store must be tested or retested for COVID-19 before they can return to work, Edward M. Augustus, city manager, told the news outlet.

Augustus also said the COVID-19 cases occurred over the last three weeks, with the majority of cases happening in the last seven days, with the earliest positive test results reported on April 8.

City officials became aware of the COVID-19 outbreak at the Walmart store through a social media post, which prompted an investigation, the news outlet said.

A Walmart spokesperson told Business Insider that the store was already scheduled to close on Thursday for restocking and cleaning but worked with city officials to close the store earlier.

"I think it's important to point out that we had planned to temporarily close that store at the end of business today, and for all day Thursday, for cleaning and stocking— this as part of a proactive company program,” the spokesperson said. “After engaging city leadership today with our plan, we adjusted the timing and continue to work with them on next steps.” 

Shares of Walmart stock were down 1.26% as of 11:32 p.m. EDT on Thursday.

Walmart is among the US companies hiring people en masse to keep up with consumer demand during the coronavirus crisis Walmart is among the US companies hiring people en masse to keep up with consumer demand during the coronavirus crisis Photo: AFP / NICHOLAS KAMM