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Multiple Houston Restaurants Close Again as Workers Contract COVID-19

More than five eateries have been forced to close their doors temporarily after Gov. Abbott allowed restaurants to reopen

The exterior of Millie’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Oak Forest
Millie’s in Oak Forest
Millie’s/Facebook

Following Texas governor Greg Abbott’s decision to allow restaurants to reopen at limited capacity, a number of restaurants across the Houston area have been forced to re-shutter their doors temporarily as their employees tested positive for COVID-19.

On June 4, new Oak Forest restaurant Millie’s announced that it would close for at least two weeks after a staff member called out of work complaining of coronavirus symptoms. That employee tested positive for COVID-19, which prompted the restaurant’s shutter. The restaurant says that it has scheduled testing for its employees, along with asking those workers to quarantine until their test results are back.

Spring Vietnamese restaurant Fu Manchung announced similar plans to close for at least 14 days after one of its employees contracted COVID-19. “We never thought or expected this to hit so close to home. It’s a very tough decision for our small family business, but the safety of our employees & patrons are our utmost priority,” a post to the restaurant’s Instagram account reads. “We all have worn masks, we have sanitized all tables & chairs, washed our hands often, and taken all precautions in and between, yet we are here now.”

As previously reported by Eater, both brand-new Galleria Indian restaurant Musaafer and FM Kitchen and Bar were among the first restaurants forced to close their doors due to employees contracting the virus. According to CultureMap, Nobie’s, Superica, and La Lucha are also currently closed after staffers contracted COVID 19.

Two locations of Willie’s Grill and Icehouse — the WIllowbrook and Copperfield outposts — have already reopened for a second time following employees who have tested positive for COVID-19. Both restaurants closed in early May after three employees contracted the virus, and reopened on May 29 after implementing extensive safety protocols like a 6-person maximum on parties and digital menus.

At the same time, Shun Japanese Kitchen announced on Tuesday that its staff had tested “100% negative” for COVID-19. The restaurant closed for a week at the beginning of the month to test all of its employees and ensure that the results were back in before allowing diners into the restaurant.

On June 12, restaurants will be allowed to increase their capacity from 50 percent occupancy to 75 percent, which means that more restaurant workers contracting COVID-19 — and more temporarily closed eateries — are highly likely in the coming weeks.

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