Restaurant closes after tourist tests positive
A restaurant in Hamilton has closed its doors on a temporary basis after a tourist who ate there twice tested positive for the coronavirus.
Now The Terrace on Front Street has decided to cease operations until all 18 staff have clear tests for the coronavirus.
Douglas Olson, the owner of the restaurant, said the Department of Health had given him the all-clear to open today if the kitchen was deep-cleaned.
But he said: “We chose to close — they didn’t ask us to, but we decided to do it for safety.”
The woman, who has not been named, ate at The Terrace last Friday and Saturday.
Mr Olson said he and staff had complied with Covid-19 rules while the Ministry of Health said that it needed to strike a balance between “keeping our country safe and rebuilding our economy.”
Mr Olson added: “We will remain closed until we have our test results and we will discuss with the department what will happen next.
“She was here on Friday night from around 8.30pm until about 11.30pm with two other people. There were about 50 other people here.
“She was here again on Sunday night with one other person and there were about 60 other customers.
“We heard about it on Monday when she contacted us.
“It is damaging to my business — it harms my staff because they are out of work until further notice.”
Mr Olson said the health department had told him it was recommended, but not mandatory that other customers should be tested, but that they should take a test if they showed any symptoms.
The woman also took a trip on the charter catamaran Zara and visited the Beyond Fitness Bermuda gym in Hamilton.
The owners of the Zara have been told to quarantine the crew and the 50 passengers on board at the same time as the tourist were told to self-quarantine.
A trainer who worked with the woman at Beyond Fitness was quarantined for 14 days and other clients who may have been exposed were contacted by the Government.
Both businesses had also complied with the coronavirus regulations and were allowed to remain open.
Beyond Fitness has since updated its client travel policy and has banned people who have been overseas until they get a clear 14-day test.
The owners of the Zara said they were examining their policies based on discussions with government public health officials.
Mr Olson said he was also in talks with the Ministry of Health.
He added: “I do agree there’s a crack in the system — how do we fix that now?
“We are not out of the woods until we get a vaccine.
“It is tough to say I think it needs to be a broad, countrywide system. I’ll wait to see what Government says. We are corresponding. We are going day by day.”
A spokeswoman for the Ministry of Health said: “No system is perfect. The only way to prevent new infection of the coronavirus in Bermuda would be to leave our borders closed.
“The Government is striking the balance with a rigorous testing regime that enables us to reopen our economy safely and put people back to work.
“We will continue to make adjustments so that Bermuda remains an example on how to safely reopen economies.”
But she ruled out a mandatory 14-day quarantine for visitors from overseas.
She said the measure “would effectively shut our tourism industry and close our hotels, putting hundreds of Bermudians out of work”.
The spokeswoman added: “One of the recommendations of the Economic Advisory Committee was to reopen our tourism industry with effective protections through aggressive testing and use of technology.
“The Government has done that and we will continue to strike the right balance between keeping our country safe and rebuilding our economy.”
The spokeswoman added health officials only identified a business when there was a threat to the public or when there was no way that the Epidemiology and Surveillance Unit could contact trace people who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.
She added: “In this instance, neither of those situations apply.”
Mr Olson said he was the first restaurant to close in March when the pandemic hit Bermuda.
He added: “We have done everything by the book — even better than by the book.”
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