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DENVER (KDVR) — An employee who worked at the King Soopers at 1155 E. 9th Ave. in Denver passed away due to COVID-19 after being hospitalized since May 4.

Randy Narvaez was a member of UFCW Local 7, and worked at King Soopers for nearly 30 years.

“He’s always been my fierce defender and my best friend,” his younger sister Nikki Trujillo said. “If you ask me it’s too late for me. It’s too late for my brother,” Trujillo who described her brother as a huge fan of rock music and proud father to his daughter said.

Trujillo told FOX31 that doctors gave her brother convalescent plasma and the anti-viral drug Remdesivir but neither was able to save his life.

The President of UFCW Local 7, Kim Cordova, who represents grocery workers in Colorado issued the following statement:

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our brother Randy Narvaez, a beloved member of Local 7 and the Denver community. Mr. Narvaez was an essential grocery worker at the King Sooper, owned by Kroger, and located at 1155 E 9th Ave in Denver in the Capitol Hill neighborhood, where he worked for over 30 years.”

A sign at the front entrance says masks are required for employees and customers alike but union leaders worry the mask policy isn’t always enforced and say masks should be required company wide not just at stores where it’s required by city ordinance like in Denver.

“Not all of the counties or cities have a mandate. We’ve asked Gov. Polis to issue an Executive Order for a statewide mandate for customers to wear masks and that has not happened yet,” Cordova said.

King Soopers has been paying workers an added “hero bonus” of $2 dollars an hour but that ends May 23. After that the company says it will give full-time workers a $400 bonus and part-time workers a $200 bonus to be paid in 2 installments, the first in late May, the second in June.

Cordova said now is not the time to end the bonus pay for essential workers. “The company just gave their CEO a 21 percent pay-hike during all of this, at the same time they announced they were going to take the hero pay away from workers,” she said.

King Soopers did not respond to the Problem Solvers when we asked why it was ending the $2 dollar per hour bonus.

The company stated in a press release that it’s added a number of safety protocols including reducing store capacity to 50% of normal (1 person for every 120 square feet of store space). It’s also doing temperature and symptom checks of every associate before they begin their shift.