NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Several restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth have temporarily closed after employees tested positive for COVID-19.
The trend underscores how business will navigate reopening while protecting the safety of workers and customers.
Many establishments used social media to notify customers about temporary closures.
Bombshells in Dallas stated it will undergo "CDC-approved" sanitizing after some staffers tested positive for the virus.
Eggsellent Cafe in Carrollton acknowledged that despite all its best efforts, an employee still contracted the virus.
"We would like to believe that our strong cleaning, required masks, social distancing, and sanitation procedures that were implemented have contained the spread, but believing is not enough at this point," read a post on the company's Facebook page.
Now, the restaurant will test all its employees.
Many customers thanked the businesses online for their transparency.
"If you try to hide it, that's where owners get in trouble," said Andrew Trusevich, a labor and employment attorney.
Trusevich said restaurants should make a "reasonable" effort to inform the staff and customers about a possible exposure without violating privacy laws.
"If you have a reservation booklet and you know who the customers are, I would contact them," said Trusevich, referring to customers who may have been served by a certain employee.
As businesses reopen, COVID-19 cases have continued to spike in North Texas.
The city of Dallas has issued more than 6,000 violation warnings since the start of the pandemic, according to an open data portal.
But during the same time period, the city has written just 35 citations. Of those, only three were issued in the past month.
In Addison, Zoli's announced it will be hiring a professional sanitation crew and providing tests to all employees after a worker tested positive on June 14.
Town leaders said they will work with restaurants where employees test positive.
"We are not issuing citations for restaurants who have employees who test positive, but are working with them to ensure they follow the appropriate protocols," said Mary Rosenbleeth, a spokeswoman for the town of Addison.
Trusevich said while business owners must take precautions, some responsibility also falls on customers.
"When you get more than 3 or 4 or 10 people or 20 people [together], you are taking a risk," Trusevich said.
Under phase three of Gov. Abbott's plan to reopen Texas, restaurants can operate at 75 percent capacity.
Zoli's sister restaurant, Cane Rosso in Carrollton, also announced it will be temporarily closing due to an employee falling ill.
La Rueda in Fort Worth stated on Facebook that it had reached out to the Tarrant County Health Department after one of its employees contracted the virus last week.
Since then, the restaurant indicated it has sanitized the premises and scheduled a gradual reopening.
Popular dim sum eatery Royal China on Royal Lane in Dallas also closed this month after a kitchen worker tested positive for the coronavirus. It's the first time the restaurant has closed its doors indefinitely since opening in 1974.
They alerted loyal customers on their Facebook page on June 9, saying:
Dear Royal China friends and family, we have been so happy to be able to serve you during these uncertain times and have been overwhelmed by your support and encouragement as we try to navigate this new way of life for all of us. Last week, we slowly reopened the dining room, operating at 50% capacity and closely following the guidelines provided to us by state and federal agencies. And it's been wonderful to see so many familiar faces together again. However, as we must all now expect and prepare for, we have experienced a setback, with one of our kitchen staff becoming ill. (He had no contact with any customers and we sanitized the restaurant every day) As we have been throughout the shutdown, we will test our entire staff and quarantine any further positives. Out of an overabundance of caution and care, we have decided to close the dining room and suspend takeout and delivery while we focus our efforts on these matters. We will be open again as soon as possible and thank you for your undeniable patience. Please feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns, and take care.
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