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PORTLAND, Maine — A Portland barbecue restaurant will close for two weeks after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus, it said Tuesday.
The worker at Salvage BBQ & Smokehouse, a popular family-style barbecue restaurant on Congress Street, was sent home from their shift early on Saturday after they received a phone call from a friend who informed them that they had been exposed to the virus and should get checked, according to a post on the restaurant’s Facebook page on Tuesday night.
Salvage BBQ has been selling to-go food via curbside takeout and delivery since the state ordered restaurants to shut their doors in March. Eateries in some parts of Maine had been cleared to open for limited dine-in service and outdoor dining on May 18, but those in Cumberland County are not permitted to let anyone dine inside until June 1.
The staff member “had been on premises for under an hour” and was “primarily isolated” before going home, the restaurant said. The staff member was given a coronavirus test Saturday night and received a positive result Sunday.
“They are presently safe at home and recovering,” Salvage said. The restaurant was not open Sunday or Monday.
“It is because of this person’s attentiveness and concern for the community that we were able to act quickly and make the necessary informed decisions. It is in this same spirit of responsibility that we pass this message,” Salvage said.
Salvage will close for all business until June 9 and will administer coronavirus tests this week to its “entire working staff, no matter how unlikely their potential contact.” Staff members will be paid during the two-week hiatus, owner Jay Villani said.
He has leased space in the parking lot next to the restaurant and plans to install picnic tables for outdoor dining, said Villani, who owns Salvage and two other restaurants in the city. The restaurant plans to redesign workflow and have staff work together in “contact pods” should state health officials need to trace an outbreak of the virus.
“We’re reinventing our model on the fly,” Villani said.
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