Ruffino’s Pasta Bar & Grill in NOTL is voluntarily closing up shop for a few days after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The decision to close was made out of an abundance of caution, said owner and chef Ryan Crawford, noting the Niagara public health department did not require the restaurant to shutdown.
He said the employee tested positive 72 hours after their last shift, which was more than a week ago. He called the situation “very low-risk.”
“Our consistent concern and care of our team and guests has been paramount from the beginning of COVID-19,” Crawford said in response to questions from The Lake Report.
“We have been commended by Niagara Region public health for our immmediate action and ongoing efforts from the beginning. Our only concern now is the health of our team.”
The Niagara-on-the-Lake restaurant has had a strict mask policy since the beginning of the pandemic and Crawford said he's also purchased a new fogging machine to sanitize the restaurant daily.
Further to closing for a few days, he said he's also asking all employees to get tested.
As of Wednesday, he said four employees have already come back with negative results.
After posting about the closure on Facebook Tuesday, Crawford said community support has been pouring in.
He thanked the community for the “many positive messages.”
“We have great support from our community, friends and industry partners. We're all in this together and we stand strong as a community supporting each other,” he said. “Our team is forever grateful.”
The employee is recovering at home, Crawford said, but declined to give further information on specific symptoms out of respect for the worker's privacy.
“There are recovering and on the other side,” he said.
He said the business will reopen Friday for lunch service.
“Stay home, stay safe, stay healthy,” Crawford said.
Here is Ryan Crawford's the original Facebook post:
The health and safety of our friends, family, guests and staff has always been our number 1 priority. We have continually gone above and beyond what is asked of us by our local health department. This is why we have made the voluntary choice to close the restaurant for several days. One of our employees has tested positive for COVID. They are self isolating and Self monitoring at home and do not require hospitalization They have not been at Ruffino’s for the past 7 days and were not symptomatic until Saturday (72 hours after their last shift). Based on what we currently know, transmission of COVID-19 is primarily occurring from people when they have symptoms, and can also occur just before they develop symptoms(48 hours), when they are in close proximity to others for prolonged periods of time. (More than 2 hours without a mask). Because of our strict mask policy, and limited contact with the COVID positive staff member we have been told this is a very low risk situation. Public health has not forced us to close or to get COVID tests done for our staff. We hold the health and safety of our staff and guests in the highest regards and this is why we have chosen to close and ask all of our staff to get tested for greater security. It is our moral obligation to keep everyone safe and healthy. But we chosen to er on the side of caution. But let us assure you this is a very low risk situation. We are just taking extra precautions. Please feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.
Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy