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)

Image description
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. (Courtesy Texas Medical Association)
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

Walk-On's is opening in McKinney in 2022. (Courtesy Walk-Ons Sports Bistreaux & Bar)
Co-owner Dak Prescott to launch eatery in McKinney; Goody Goody Liquor coming to Keller and more DFW-area news

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

Crumbl Cookies offers over 120 rotating cookie flavors. (Courtesy Crumbl Cookies)
Crumbl Cookies to open in Plano; McKinney trash pickup rates to rise and more DFW-area news

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

people at restaurant table
Jakes Burgers and Beer locations in North Texas, including in Flower Mound, under new ownership

The restaurant is known for its locally sourced beef burgers and selection of local brews and Texas spirits.

Zalat Pizza offers an elote pizza and the OG, which is topped with all-beef pepperoni, salami, cracked black pepper and pickled giardiniera. (Courtesy Alison Taylor/Strauss Marketing-PR)
Zalat Pizza coming soon to Flower Mound

This pizza kitchen makes its dough in-house and is known for its wide range of specialty pies with unique ingredients, such as elote, Reuben and pho.

The salon specializes in natural hair services, especially box braids. (Courtesy Blessed Hands by Ms. P)
Blessed Hands by Ms. P, Peggy’s Fashion Closet open in Lewisville

Blessed Hands by Ms. P provides natural hairstyling and specializes in braids and extensions, which include human and synthetic hair, box braids, cornrows, twists and more.

A bright yellow taser
Lewisville City Council approves new Tasers, accountability tools for police

The Lewisville City Council approved a service and purchasing agreement with Axon Enterprise that will provide the Lewisville Police Department with new tasers, digital storage for evidence and body camera footage, and an assortment of accountability and transparency tools.

A ballot being cast.
Voters favored three of four Lewisville City Charter amendments based on final votes

Lewisville voters want planning commissioners to own property; other charter amendments approved in May 1 election

Highland village city hall
Lombardo, Heslep win re-election to Highland Village City Council

Final vote totals on May 1 show incumbents Mike Lombardo and Tom Heslep have won re-election to Highland Village City Council.

LISD chamber doors
Bonner, Lassahn win Lewisville ISD board races

With all precincts reporting, Buddy Bonner and Allison Lassahn win Lewisville ISD board seats.

i voted sticker
Ronni Cade wins election for Lewisville City Council's Place 3

Vote totals on May 1 show Ronni Cade as the winner with 53.2% of the vote to Penny Mallet’s 46.8% in the Lewisville City Council Place 3 race.

town hall building
Flower Mound mayoral race goes to runoff

Mayoral candidates Derek France and Itamar Gelbman are headed to a June 5 runoff.

city hall
TJ Gilmore wins Lewisville mayor's race

TJ Gilmore wins final vote count in Lewisville mayoral race.