SUNDRE — A local fast food franchise has been closed for about a week after an employee was found to have contracted the novel coronavirus, but is expected to reopen soon.
“We can confirm that an employee at the Sundre A&W restaurant has tested positive for COVID-19,” Julia Cutt, a company spokesperson, told The Albertan on Wednesday, April 28 by email in response to questions.
“This is an isolated case and the employee is currently at home recovering, with mild symptoms,” wrote Cutt, adding the employee had last worked in the restaurant on Monday, April 19.
“When a restaurant employee tests positive for COVID-19, or reports symptoms of COVID-19, they are asked to self-isolate, and any employees they worked in close contact with are removed from the work schedule for 14 days,” she said.
Additionally, the local health authority was notified, and strict COVID-19 protocols have been followed, including a thorough cleaning, sanitizing and disinfecting of the restaurant, she said.
Melissa Ballantyne, a spokesperson for Alberta Health Services, also confirmed the lone case that tested positive at the restaurant, which does not constitute an outbreak as per provincial definitions.
“If an employee at a store tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing is carried out, and those considered close contacts are notified to isolate. Environmental Public Health teams will work with management to educate them on disinfection and public health best practices. In many instances, stores may opt to voluntarily close in order to carry this work out,” Ballantyne wrote on Friday by email in response to questions.
“We don’t force a business to close,” she added.
A sign posted on the main entrance’s door stated that, “To protect the health and safety of our valued guests, team members and communities, we have made the decision to close our restaurant for the foreseeable future.”
Cutt replied on Friday, April 30 to a follow-up question regarding the reason behind the restaurant’s complete closure, including to drive-through traffic, and said, “The restaurant made the decision to close as they were short staffed as a result of team members being removed from the work schedule.”
But the restaurant’s drive-thru service was expected to reopen on Sunday, May 2, returning to regular hours in the days following, she added.