GRASONVILLE — Several Grasonville restaurants closed this week for cleaning and decontamination after employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Owners of The Jetty Restaurant and Dock Bar announced Tuesday afternoon, July 13, they would be closed until Friday. According to the statement shared via their social media page, management learned Tuesday a staff member tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling.

“Upon receiving this news, we immediately closed,“ wrote a representative for The Jetty. “We are working with the local health department and taking necessary steps to ensure the safety of our employees and customers. We have hired a certified cleaning crew that specializes in COVID sanitation.“

The owners expressed their thanks to the community for understanding “the health of our staff and costumers is most important during this time.“

Annie’s Paramount Steak and Seafood House also announced Tuesday that it would be closed until Friday. It, too, reported a staff member had tested positive and the restaurant would be closed for sanitation.

On Wednesday, Queen Anne’s County Deputy Health Officer Jennie Burris issued a statement, “The Department of Health is working closely with management to sanitize the establishments and to test all staff. The health department is pleased with the cooperation and swift action taken by both restaurants.”

Burris said customers who have been following CDC guidelines for protecting themselves have a decreased chance of being infected.

However, she did advise patrons to monitor symptoms and watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.

Also Wednesday, The Narrows Restaurant announced it would be closed “to take preventative steps in minimizing the spread of COVID-19.”

Restaurant officials posted, “Over the next few days, we’ll be performing a series of sanitation and cleaning procedures to ensure a safe environment for our staff and customers.”

They thanked customers for their patience, and said they looked forward to seeing them soon.

The Big Owl Tiki Bar at Kent Narrows also announced it would be closed July 15-17.

“The Big Owl and it’s staff have not contracted COVID-19. We are simply taking precautionary measures to minimize the spread of the corona virus,” bar officials posted on its website.

They said they were closing for deep cleaning and sanitizing in an effort to keep staff and patrons safe and healthy.

The local businesses are just a few of a growing number of restaurants and bars around the state that have recently closed due employee infections.

Carpenter Street Saloon in St. Michaels announced Sunday the business would be closed until Wednesday, July 15, after a staff member tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“The staff member is asymptomatic, did not interact with the public and is quarantining,” the business posted on its Facebook page. “We are sterilizing and fumigating the building and ensuring the rest of our staff are healthy and Covid free.”

The post went on to say Carpenter Street Saloon would go beyond recommended health guidelines to keep guests and staff safe and healthy and encouraged everyone to wear a mask.

On Tuesday, the business posted a photo of the cleaning company on site and said the restaurant and bar would remain closed until Thursday or Friday.

In Ocean City, Purple Moose Saloon and Fish Tales OC both closed Friday, July 10, after multiple employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Three more restaurants in Ocean City temporarily closed Saturday after employees tested positive. Officials from Dry Dock 28 and Buxy’s Salty Dog Saloon announced they would close until 11 a.m. Wednesday for cleaning. Blu Crabhouse and Raw Bar announced it would be closed until further notice.

“With a member of our staff testing positive for covid-19 and others awaiting results, we believe this to be the best course of action. Once our staff is tested, quarantines are complete, and our facilities undergo deep sanitation, we will reopen. With our staff and patrons’ health and safety as our priority, we appreciate your understanding and continued support. We look forward to serving you and getting our staff back to work as soon as possible,” officials posted on the business’ Facebook page.

Under Executive Order 20-06-10-01, issued on June 10, bars and restaurants in Maryland are open for seated service only with physical distancing and capacity restrictions. Customers must be seated at least six feet apart from other guests. Standing and congregating in bar areas is strictly prohibited.

All staff must wear a face covering while working and interacting with customers.

For facilities with booths, every other booth must be closed.

No more than six people may sit at a table.

On Tuesday, Gov. Larry Hogan directed local leaders to step up enforcement of public health requirements in bars and restaurants across the state. State health officials said they have connected an increasing number of COVID-19 cases to non-compliance with face covering and physical distancing rules.

“The vast majority of bars and restaurants in our state are in compliance, but some are flagrantly violating the law and endangering public health,” Hogan said. “You have the responsibility to enforce these laws. Violators should be warned, fined, have actions taken regarding their licenses, or closed if necessary. Local health departments, local liquor boards and inspectors, and local law enforcement agencies must work together to ensure public health is protected.”

In recent weeks, at least 12 other states have moved to re-close bars and restaurants statewide or in targeted localities following COVID-19 spikes and outbreaks.

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