The Schooner Restaurant & Lounge closed operations Friday, Sept. 4, to sanitize and deep clean after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant reopened Saturday, Sept. 5.

After learning the positive result, the restaurant took all action required by the CDC, as well as the Tillamook County Health Department. The employee and those they were in direct contact with are under quarantine for 14 days, and all areas of the restaurant are currently being sanitized.

General Manager Lexie Fields said the restaurant responded to the news of the employee who tested positive for COVID-19 as quickly as possible. They notified those who had been in direct contact – within 6 feet of each other for longer than a 15-minute period – immediately, and then provided a statement to all employees to inform and educate them on the situation.

“After we took these measures and dealt with their concerns, we notified the public and were completely candid about what was happening at the restaurant,” Fields said. “The response from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive.”

The Schooner’s online response on Facebook was nothing but supportive and caring, Fields said.

Those employees who had been in close contact with the affected employee are quarantining for a two-week period, including Fields. Other employees who were not in close contact with the affected employee chose to self-quarantine as well, however, most employees felt comfortable enough to return to work after the 24-hour shut down and cleaning, as well as after speaking with the health department.

“We have four employees, including the affected employee, in mandated quarantine right now and six others of their own volition,” Fields said. “Results from those employees who chose to get tested have all been negative. At this time, we only have the one employee who has tested positive.”

Fields said the restaurant has been following Gov. Kate Brown’s state mandated guidelines from the beginning of COVID-19 by requiring employees, as well as customers, to wear face coverings, practice consistent hand washing and sanitizing of common areas, excusing employees from work when they are sick and practicing social distancing. They have also limited reservation seating to no more than ten people in a group, arranged tables to be 6 feet apart from one another, posted signage on COVID-19 prevention in restrooms, installed hand sanitizer stations at all entry ways, blocked off every other booth seating, removed bar seating, and staff a host controlling entry into the restaurant at all times.

“I felt we had to take the position, as a restaurant, that this is not something ‘dirty’ that we are trying to hide in shame from – it’s a virus that’s affecting millions of people, and the chances of contracting it were, and remain, high,” Fields said. “I believe we handled the situation to the best of our ability with compassion and professionalism, and may possibly be a resource for other restaurants that may face similar circumstances in the future.”

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