Texas restaurants, businesses not required to disclose positive COVID-19 cases

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, establishments are encouraged, but not required, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)
If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, establishments are encouraged, but not required, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)

If an employee tests positive for COVID-19, establishments are encouraged, but not required, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines. (Katherine Borey/Community Impact Newspaper)

Amid public health concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, restaurants and businesses across Texas are looking for guidance in the event that employees test positive for the virus.

Along with six-foot social distancing, limiting groups to 10 or fewer and mandating hand sanitizing stations at entryways, the latest order from Gov. Greg Abbott requires all employees and customers in the state to wear a face covering.

However, if an employee of a business or restaurant tests positive for COVID-19, establishments are encouraged, but not required, to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state guidelines.

“We have to do what is important to protect the health and safety of Texans,” Fort Worth representative Nicole Collier said at a Texas Restaurant Association roundtable July 8. “Compliance is key. Health experts have already indicated what works to prevent the spread of the virus.”

If an employee does test positive for COVID-19, guidelines for restaurants and businesses from CDC and state officials include quarantining the employee, reporting the positive test to public health officials, identifying anyone who was in contact with the sick employee and thoroughly disinfecting the facility.


“For us, the big thing is to make sure the person who tested positive is going to be okay and everyone who worked with them is going to be okay,” said Matt Armand, owner of Big Daddy’s Ship Store in Grapevine.

Located on Grapevine Lake, the store first learned of an employee who tested positive for COVID-19 on June 22. Armand made the decision to announce the positive test publicly in order to protect the health and safety of customers, his young staff and their families, he said.

“County and state orders don’t mandate that you disclose that you had [a positive test], and my guess is the majority of places aren’t,” Armand said.

For many businesses, the uncertainty of the pandemic is forcing owners to reinvent previously successful ways of doing things, Texas Sen. Kelly Hancock, R-Fort Worth, whose District 9 encompasses portions of Tarrant and Dallas counties.

The biggest challenge moving forward will be “mentality,” he said.

“We have to continue to encourage people to act responsibly,” Hancock said. “It’s okay to go out and eat and do life, ... but we have to do it responsibly. It’s a balance.”

According to officials with the Texas Restaurant Association, the state has not released requirements or recommendations for businesses that learn of an employee who tested positive for COVID-19, other than to say the employee cannot work until the quarantine period has past.

TRA officials recommend that restaurant owners follow CDC guidelines.

“Even when a business follows all of the state and federal COVID-19 protocols, it is very likely that someone who comes into that business will later be diagnosed with COVID-19,” officials said. “Restaurants are no exception, which is why restaurants continue to follow strict sanitation, social distancing and health screening protocols.”

Family-owned Mexican restaurant Maria Cucas in Keller made the decision to close temporarily after an employee tested positive June 30. According to staff, the decision to close for a short time was based on the safety of employees and customers.

“The safety of everyone has been our top priority. ... We feel it is important to be transparent about the situation,” staff said. “We have made the decision to close our doors until we can have all of our staff members tested and the restaurant professionally sanitized.”

The restaurant continues to work with local health officials and is following CDC protocols, staff said.

“We are a family-owned restaurant that treats our staff, customers and community as family members,” staff said. “It is for this reason that we have implemented these [safety] measures.”
By Ian Pribanic
Ian Pribanic covers city government, transportation, business and education news for Community Impact Newspaper in the Keller-Roanoke-Northeast Fort Worth areas. A Washington D.C. native and University of North Texas graduate, Ian was previously an editor for papers in Oklahoma, West Texas and for Community Impact in New Braunfels.


MOST RECENT

Thirteen drive-thru grocery stores operated by the Salvation Army of North Texas are offering backpacks filled with supplies. (Courtesy Salvation Army)
Salvation Army expands North Texas grocery service locations to include school supplies, protective equipment

Backpacks filled with school supplies, personal protective equipment, financial assistance resources and U.S. Census forms will be available at the 13 existing locations.

Cottonwood Creek Trail features platforms for viewing wildlife and fishing in Cottonwood Creek. (Courtesy Visit Frisco)
Trails system in Frisco expands and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the DFW area.

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure. (Courtesy Total Primary Care)
Find out where to get a 15-minute COVID-19 test in Austin, Dallas-Fort Worth metros

Rapid nasal swab antigen tests are recommended as options for individuals who were potentially exposed to a confirmed positive carrier, as well as for people traveling, returning to work or undergoing a medical procedure.

A PNC Bank-Alliance location is coming soon to the Presidio Crossing shopping center in Northeast Fort Worth. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
PNC Bank location coming soon to Presidio Crossing in Northeast Fort Worth

A PNC Bank will occupy the former building of El Pollo Tropical at 2601 N. Tarrant Parkway.

According to city officials, the city of Roanoke irrigation ordinance limits outdoor watering for all customers using an irrigation system or sprinkler to a maximum of two days per week. (Renee Yan/Community Impact Newspaper)
City of Roanoke irrigation ordinance in effect

Officials with the city of Roanoke are reminding area residents to limit outdoor watering during summer months.

A mother and daughter visit at Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care in Conroe earlier in the pandemic. (Courtesy Seasons Assisted Living & Memory Care)
Texas allows limited visitations to nursing homes, long-term care facilities

Facilities that meet the requirements will allow limited visitations, but you still will not be able to hug or kiss your loved one.

SweetStop bakery holds grand opening in Richardson and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The city of Fort Worth is expected to retain its current property tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21. (Ian Pribanic/Community Impact Newspaper)
Fort Worth officials discuss 2021 budget, maintain focus on capital projects

The city of Fort Worth is expected to retain its current property tax rate for fiscal year 2020-21.

In a July 30 letter, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that "local officials cannot postpone local elections that were scheduled to be held on May 2, 2020 beyond November 3, 2020." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Keller approves dates for November council elections

Keller City Council has approved a resolution to hold elections for mayor, City Council Place 5 and City Council Place 6 during general elections Nov. 3.

The Confederate Soldiers Monument stands on the south grounds of the Texas Capitol. A group of Democratic lawmakers have called for its removal, along with other statues and portraits honoring the Confederacy. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
State legislators seek removal of Confederate monuments at Texas Capitol

The decision may ultimately lie with Gov. Greg Abbott and the rest of the State Preservation Board, which last year authorized the removal of a plaque in the Capitol that said slavery was not an underlying cause of the Confederate rebellion.