CLARKSVILLE — Texas Roadhouse in Clarksville underwent a deep cleaning and sanitizing effort Thursday night, a company representative said, after a restaurant employee tested positive for COVID-19 this week.
The employee shared a ride to work with some other workers at the restaurant and all of those workers are being “held out” from returning to the restaurant for at least 14 days, said Travis Doster, vice president of communications for Texas Roadhouse.
Employees receive regular temperature checks and are required to speak with medical professionals if they believe they have been infected with the coronavirus, Doster said.
“If they have any symptoms whatsoever we ask that they be tested,” he said.
Doster wasn’t able to confirm the position of the employee with the restaurant.
The restaurant is following all protocols from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and has taken extra efforts “out of an abundance of caution” to ensure customers and employees that they are safe when dining or working inside the establishment, Doster continued.
He added that staff at the restaurant wear masks and gloves and were taking other precautions prior to the confirmed case. In terms of cleanliness and sanitary conditions, Doster said restaurants are already held to a high standard and Texas Roadhouse takes pride in meeting those regulations.
“There is no more regulated industry than the restaurant industry,” Doster said. “We’ve been doing it for 40 years, 27 in Clarksville’s case, so we’ve just actually stepped up our already high standards.”
The restaurant remained open Friday and didn’t close for any period due to the case. Dr. Eric Yazel, Clark County’s public health officer, said a positive test has to be reported to the county where the patient lives, but that a business isn’t necessarily required to notify the public or the health department of a case.
Contact tracing in Indiana has been outsourced to Maximus after the state announced a partnership with the health services provider in late April.
The health department does work with larger employers if there are multiple cases of COVID-19 at a location considering the number of coworkers that could be exposed and the likelihood that the workers reside in several counties.
Yazel said in March when cases were trickling in, health departments announced individual cases at specific businesses or facilities. But due to the increased number of COVID-19 patients in Southern Indiana over the past two months, Yazel said announcing details such as place of employment of each case would be excessive.
“I do think that creates unnecessary fear in the public,” he said.
Health department officials said Friday they weren’t aware of the case at Texas Roadhouse, and Yazel said generally there wasn’t a great risk of spreading the coronavirus at the restaurant if only one employee contracted COVID-19.
Likely since late March, residents in the area have been in the vicinity of someone who had the virus, he continued.
Unless a customer of the restaurant or an employee shows symptoms or has underlying health issues, he said “there’s no indication to change your testing pattern just based on an exposure like that.”
Doster said customers can be assured that Texas Roadhouse “has protocols in place and they work.”