Home Slice Pizza closes North Loop location temporarily after employee tests positive for coronavirus

The Home Slice Pizza location on E. 53rd St. is closed temporarily. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
The Home Slice Pizza location on E. 53rd St. is closed temporarily. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Home Slice Pizza location on E. 53rd St. is closed temporarily. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

Home Slice Pizza announced May 5 on its Facebook and Instagram pages that one of its employees who worked at its 501 E. 53rd St. location had tested positive for the coronavirus.

In response, the popular local pizza joint has temporarily closed the North Loop location "while a professional sanitation crew deep cleans and disinfects the restaurant."

According to the restaurant, the employee last worked on May 3 and is now quarantined and receiving care.

Home Slice has not opened its dining room to customers despite the state executive order allowing restaurants to serve customers at 25% capacity of their spaces. Instead, the restaurant has continued with its curbside takeout and delivery model that began in March when dining rooms across the state were closed to slow the spread of the pandemic.

"After following the preventative guidance of the CDC [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and local health officials, the store will reopen with the same diligent cleaning and safety protocols that were previously in place including no-contact curbside service and mandatory use of masks and gloves," reads Home Slice's May 5 post.

The restaurant said all other staff members at the North Loop location are being tested for the coronavirus, and so far none have experienced any symptoms.

In April, Home Slice rolled back its hours, opening at noon to allow its staff the ability to fully and safely prepare in the mornings. All employees in the stores also received a $3 per hour pay increase retroactive to March 16, when the pizza joint's dining rooms closed.

"We've converted our dining rooms to kitchens to ensure social distancing. We have our employees changing their gloves after every guest interaction and washing their hands for a minimum of 20 seconds after curbside delivery. Service is completely touchless," Home Slice partner Jeff Mettler said in an April media release. "It's a lot of extra work, but it's worth it for the safety of all. We thank our guests for their patience as we adjust to the new normal."

Home Slice's South Austin location, located at 1415-1421 S. Congress Ave., remains open for curbside, takeout and delivery.

Editor's Note: The headline of this story was update to reflect the North Loop location closure is temporary.
By Jack Flagler
Jack is the editor of Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin and Southwest Austin editions. He began his career as a sports reporter in Massachusetts and North Carolina before moving to Austin in 2018. He grew up in Maine and graduated from Boston University, but prefers tacos al pastor to lobster rolls. You can get in touch at [email protected]


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