Two Chicago restaurants have closed following exposure to the coronavirus as dining has resumed in the city on a limited basis during the pandemic.
Fork, in the city’s Lincoln Square neighborhood, became the latest to temporarily close, announcing on Monday that the restaurant “had been exposed to Covid-19.”
“The safety of our customers and staff is our top priority, so out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily closed and plan to reopen on Wednesday July 8 pending staff test results,” the restaurant wrote on Facebook. “We are taking the necessary steps to be able to reopen, including testing staff and carrying out deep cleaning.”
It is still unclear how or when the restaurant was exposed, but the restaurant said it plans to reopen next week.
“We look forward to seeing all of your smiling faces again on July 8. Thank you for your patience, support and understanding,” the post read.
Last week, Longman and Eagle announced that a staff member had tested positive for the virus and the restaurant would temporarily close.
“Longman & Eagle has had a positive employee test for COVID-19,” the restaurant posted on Instagram. “As a result, we have closed our business, effective immediately. We will remain closed until we can provide a healthy and safe working environment for our staff and then for our guests. We will reopen when we – all of us – are comfortable doing so. In the meantime, staff are being quarantined and tested, and the space is undergoing extensive sanitization. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
Outdoor dining reopened in Chicago last month and indoor dining began Friday with capacity restrictions as the city entered phase four of its reopening plan.
Some have since expressed concern for the safety of restaurant workers as the reopening continues.
An employee of a popular restaurant in Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood has released an open letter to Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot asking for specific guidelines to protect servers, bartenders and other restaurant workers in the age of coronavirus.
In the impassioned letter published to Medium, Don Woolf, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, criticized state and city leaders for failing to adequately address the concerns of restaurant workers. restaurant in their phase three recommendations.
“The guidelines do absolutely nothing to ensure the safety and health of restaurant workers. Instead, they put us in danger.
Among several concerns, Woolf writes that current guidelines don’t go far enough to hold restaurants accountable when it comes to reporting cases and protecting staff, writing direction is left to “self- surveillance, self-regulation and self-policing”.
“Your favorite bistro could be the next coronavirus hotspot, although you will never know… People are broke, scared and desperate. Nobody wants to lose shifts or see their restaurant closed a second time. Nobody wants publicity. No one will report cases of COVID-19.
Woolf goes on to raise questions about how workers can protect themselves from the virus, writing advice is limited on how to perform their tasks safely beyond hand washing. Current Illinois guidelines require servers to wear face coverings, while customers can remove theirs when seated.