Clintonville cafe owner closed following positive COVID-19 test to make customers feel safe

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) – As COVID-19 cases continue to climb, so do the number of restaurants being forced to close after employees test positive for the virus.

This is after they already took a huge hit earlier on in the pandemic.

Restaurants and bar are not required to announce if an employee tests positive. They are also not required to close.

But the owner of Katalina’s in Clintonville and some other places in town have decided to do both. 

Nothing’s cooking at Katalina’s Clintonville location. The restaurant is closed after an employee was showing symptoms of the virus, so owner Kathleen Day decided to shut the doors before the worker’s test results even came back. 

“We decided to get ahead of it,” Day said. 

With customer and workforce safety in mind, Day decided to keep the doors closed even longer after the employee’s COVID-19 test came back positive.

“My concern is I feel like cases are spiking and if we all don’t do our best to ensure they don’t continue to spike, then none of us will be in business,” Day said.

According to Columbus Public Health, restaurants are recommended to close for a day to be adequately cleaned if a coronavirus case comes up, but they are not required to. CPH also said businesses are not required to announce if there is a positive case.  

 “I think if we announced every time and that was a requirement, it would be mass hysteria,” Day said. “But I just feel like that is what I want to do as a restaurant owner to make my customers feel safe and that my customers rely on me to do that.” 

Other places decided to announce test results and close as well over the weekend. Standard Hall closed Saturday and since the employee had contact with staff at sister locations Short North Pint House and Goody Boy Diner, those locations closed as well. Lincoln Social also closed over the weekend after a positive test. 

On Monday, the Pearl in the Short North also closed for a deep cleaning and sanitization following a positive test.

“I don’t wanna demonize restaurants,” Day said. “I just think it’s happening everywhere right now and I think restaurants are one of the safest places to be because of how we’re all working so hard.”

Day said she is aware of some restaurants that have had cases and not announced them.

“I know that for a fact,” she said. 

It’s part of the reason Wendy Smiseck and her family are still sticking to takeout. 

“There’s no reason to put ourselves at risk and there’s no reason to put others at risk,” Smiseck said. 

The Katalina’s Clintonville location is set to reopen Monday, July 13, which will mark 14 day since the employee who tested positive was last in the business.

Day said the employee was doing well.

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