WAUKESHA — A chef at a restaurant in Waukesha County, that just reopened last week, is diagnosed with coronavirus. Now, the business has closed its doors again.
It’s a message no one wants to read on a restaurant door right now: “… Casa Tequila will be closed for a couple of weeks. One person in our kitchen staff has been diagnosed with COVID-19, and all our associates will self-quarantine…”
This is at the Casa Tequila location in Waukesha. The others in Pewaukee, Hartford, and West Bend remain open.
We reached out to the owner, but haven’t heard back.
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Wisconsin Restaurant Association President Kristine Hillmer says the local chain is handling the situation correctly.
“They are closing it down temporarily, making sure the staff and customers are safe,” Hillmer said. “They’re cleaning everything, and doing everything in their power to really mitigate it as much as possible.”
All of the Casa Tequila locations reopened for dine-in service on May 20th. That’s one full week after Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order ended on May 13th.
All of the Casa Tequila locations also reopened at 50 percent capacity, with more table distancing and increased disinfecting measures.
Hillmer says restaurants having to close periodically due to an employee testing positive for coronavirus, may be a new normal. She says without a vaccine, there’s no way to completely eliminate the risk at any business.
“You're still going to have a slow spread of the virus,” she said. “But we also still need to make sure businesses can open and survive. I do know some operators that have split their staff into shifts so that if somebody does test positive, only that shift is affected.”
Many health leaders worry about the implications of opening up, if it’s not done safely.
In Kenosha County, at least seven restaurant and bar owners have tested positive for coronavirus.
"This is the sort of scenario that public health was afraid of,” said Kenosha County Health Officer, Dr. Jen Freiheit. “The virus is still here and we very much want to help control and contain it.”
Kenosha County has seen a 20 percent increase in COVID-19 cases in the two weeks since Wisconsin’s Safer at Home Order ended.