O'Neill's Grill temporarily closing after employee tests positive for COVID-19

By  | 

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — A Harrisonburg restaurant is temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

O'Neill's Grill in Harrisonburg.

According to O'Neill's Grill, they received notice on Thursday that an employee received positive test results for the coronavirus.

The restaurant owners say the person did not test positive while working in their restaurant, and when the employee informed them that they may have come into contact with the virus at another location, they asked the employee to self-quarantine for two weeks, per CDC guidelines, and get tested.

They believe the employee's case to be isolated and not connected to the restaurant, but announced that they "owe it to our customers and employees to be extra cautious."

So they are temporarily closing their doors to the public.

Pausing business in the event that an employee contracted the virus somewhere else in an apparent isolated event does not require a restaurant to close under federal or state regulations, but the O'Neill's team said they wanted to be "100% forthright" and let their customers know.

Many other restaurants and businesses, locally and across the state, have had employees test positive for COVID-19, have not closed, and have not publicly provided any information about the case or cases. Nor are they required to, due to the Virginia Department of Health's interpretation of state law as treating facilities the same as "persons," thus protecting the anonymity of COVID-19 information at any particular business.

Ultimately, it's up to each facility that has had an employee test positive whether they choose to let the public know.

O'Neill's Grill says closing for a time is the best way they can protect family and friends, but that they have been following all CDC and Virginia health department guidelines, including wearing face masks and gloves and taking temperatures before coming into the restaurant.

"The O’Neill’s Grill team has been encouraged by your support over the past couple of weeks, and we look forward to serving you again soon. We hope to reopen in about a week and we will keep you updated. We thank you sincerely," they said n a Facebook post.

As of May 21, there have been 695 cases of COVID-19 in the city of Harrisonburg, with 51 hospitalizations and 21 deaths.