Many restaurants in Arkansas have been able to resume dine-in services since May 11 under the directive of the Department of Health, but some are now facing the challenge of positive COVID-19 cases among employees and how to operate with the rise of new cases.
Several Central Arkansas restaurants have taken to social media to make announcements about positive cases at their establishments and temporary closures.
Cache Restaurant in Little Rock announced on July 9 that some employees without symptoms tested positive for the virus and it would be temporarily closing the restaurant until Wednesday, July 22.
According to Rush Harding, owner of the restaurant, it was his decision to close the restaurant for 14 days.
“One employee tested positive and so the rest needed to get tested,” he said. “I decided to go ahead and close the restaurant temporarily out of precaution. The most important thing is the health and wellbeing of our employees and customers. The Arkansas Department of Health provided guidance and said that it is not required to close, but the action is appreciated.”
The Department of Health has guidance available for employers online if any employee has been possibly exposed to the virus. While places of business do not necessarily have to close, any individual who has been possibly exposed or tested positive for the virus should be isolated at home. Employees are considered to be recovered from the virus after isolation if at least three days have passed since fever and at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared.
“You can send the positive cases home and not let them return to work until they test negative, thoroughly clean the establishment and go on about operations, but I wanted to close it temporarily just in case,” Harding said. “We want everyone to feel safe when they come back to Cache.”
Kemuri closed temporarily on July 10 after receiving news that an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant reopened yesterday (July 13) after the restaurant was deep cleaned by Biopure Little Rock and the rest of the staff tested negative.
Jerry Barakat, owner of Arthurs and Ocean’s, announced on July 7 that two employees tested positive for the virus without showing symptoms. Both establishments closed that day to be professionally cleaned and disinfected to resume operations for dinner only the next day with staff who had previously tested negative on July 8.
Grub’s Bar & Grill announced yesterday (July 13) that the restaurant had chosen to temporarily suspend operations “during this unprecedented time” after reopening on May 11.