Catskill restaurant closing has tie to Oneonta

Creekside Catskill will reopen its doors Wednesday after closing after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19. The employee was exposed to the virus in Oneonta, the site of a major COVID-19 surge. Sarah Trafton/Columbia-Greene Media

CATSKILL — After being closed voluntarily after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19, Creekside Restaurant in Catskill will reopen Wednesday.

The restaurant closed Sept. 4 after the owner was notified that one of its staff members tested positive for the virus.

“We are looking forward to opening and getting back to what we do,” owner Sean Meagher said Monday.

The staff member who tested positive was symptomatic, Meagher said, and had been exposed to an individual outside of work who contracted the virus in Oneonta, where the number of positive cases surged with the opening of SUNY College at Oneonta.

The employee has not worked at the restaurant since Aug. 30.

Greene County Public Health tested 50 people at the restaurant the day after the positive result, including all staff members, family members and some regular customers who frequent the business, Meagher said.

Of those 50, one additional staff member tested positive, he said.

All staff members were tested again Sept. 9 at the county’s weekly clinic, he said.

The restaurant’s closure was voluntary, Meagher said.

“We did it to protect our staff, family members as well as the community,” he said. “It could have blossomed into something very quickly if we didn’t take action.”

The Creekside has been carefully following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Meagher said.

“We were very careful the whole time with masks, signage, doing cleaning,” he said. “We were extremely diligent.”

Restaurants in New York state are limited to 50% capacity, with tables spaced six feet apart and masks are required for employees, according to governor.ny.gov.

Masks are required for patrons unless they are seated at a table and parties are capped at 10 people.

Unlike nursing home workers, who are mandated to be tested twice a week, hospitality workers are under no mandates to be tested.

The state requires that some sort of screening process such as a questionnaire and temperature check be in place for restaurant employees.

During Phase III of the state’s reopening plan, employees who work in the personal care industry, such as tattoo parlors and nail salons, were required to be tested every 14 days.

The initial positive case was not exposed at the restaurant but outside of work, Meagher said.

“My only recommendation [to my staff] is to be thoughtful about how you’re spending your free time,” he said.

Greene County had four active cases on Friday, according to the Public Health Department.

The department operates a weekly clinic outside the County Office Building from 5:30-6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. Call 518-719-3600 ext. 1 to schedule an appointment.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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