Local Coronavirus Count Holds Steady at 73 Cases, Including One Sunlife Employee

Juices sold at Sunlife Organics

Malibu still has 73 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Thursday, July 30. Two community members have now passed away due to the virus: John Bell, who died in April, and an additional unnamed resident who died in July. 

An employee who usually works one to two days per week at Sunlife Organics’ Point Dume location tested positive for COVID-19 on July 22, seven days after they worked their most recent shift there on July 15. The employee has not returned to work since testing positive. 

The employee did not show symptoms during their shift. Though Sunlife Organics did not believe that the employee had contracted COVID-19 by the time they worked their shift–meaning they think that the employee likely contracted it in the days between the shift and the day the employee got tested–Sunlife Organics’ management still notified those who worked in close proximity to the person and told them to monitor themselves for symptoms and not return to work if they had them. 

“This was an isolated incident,” Khalil Rafati, the owner of Sunlife Organics, told The Malibu Times

Rafati said that since Sunlife Organics reopened for business on June 24, the store has not only followed all guidelines recommended by the Health Department and the CDC, but “gone above and beyond by taking (sic) extra steps.” Rafati remodeled both of his Malibu stores to include plexiglass barriers at registers and even put in a to-go window, which he mentioned was incredibly expensive, especially because his Paycheck Protection Program loan had not yet been granted.

Sunlife Organics provides a hand sanitizing station with hand sanitizer to its employees and guests and gloves and masks to its employees. They also have a “no loitering inside” rule and stickers on the ground to demarcate six-feet-apart spaces in which customers may stand. 

Sunlife Organics enforces consistent cleaning of surfaces any time an employee goes on a break and utilizes a third party to deep clean the store nightly. They check employees’ temperatures and have have them fill out health screening forms at the beginning of each shift. 

Lastly, the stores have gone cashless, which Rafati said initially received a lot of blowback from customers. “But I’d rather lose business than put people at risk,” he said.

Sunlife Organics remains open for business.