DALLAS - A Dallas restaurant is just the latest in a string of recent businesses that have had employees test positive for COVID-19.
Bombshells off North Stemmons Freeway near Love Field announced they’ve had some staff members test positive for the virus and are temporarily shutting down for a few days as a precaution. However, restaurants are not legally required to notify customers of any positive cases they’ve had.
The restaurant is closed for a deep cleaning and will re-open Thursday.
But with restaurants allowed to open up to 75 percent capacity starting last Friday, there is concern more COVID-19 cases could pop up and if restaurants are required to let customers know what’s going on.
In a Facebook post Sunday, Bombshells in Dallas notified customers of staff members contracting COVID-19. While the restaurant did not disclose how many employees tested positive or when they were last at work, it did say staff members were required to complete a symptom questionnaire, have their temperature taken and any employee with symptoms is sent home.
Bombshells is not alone.
Other restaurants, like Royal China on Preston and Royal and Yolk in Downtown Dallas, have also had employees test positive.
Royal China closed and sent out a social media post. Yolk’s owner told FOX 4 last week while it notified employees and suggested they get tested, it did not contact customers or other health authorities.
“There's not a good clear answer or regulatory guidance on this. Usually, when someone tests positive, the Department of Health is notified of that positive test. And it's usually the Department of Health that does contact the employer and does contact tracing,” said Brent Walker, a civil litigation attorney with Aldous Walker.
While restaurants might have a moral obligation to tell the public of positive cases, there doesn’t appear to be any legal obligation to do so.
“So I think that's a best practice. It's something that all restaurants should probably do,” Walker said. “But as far as whether the government requires it, the answer is no.”
But there is a possibility a restaurant could open themselves up to a possible lawsuit down the line if they don’t follow best practices and notify customers.
“It'll take a very specific set of facts to make it a viable lawsuit because there's so much community spread,” Walker said. “How do you know that you've got it from that restaurant versus the gas station you stopped at the way home or your neighbor when they walked by and said hi to you? It's just, it's a very hard thing to demonstrate.”
Zoli's Pizza in Addison and Cane Rosso in Carrollton also both recently announced they had employees contract the virus. Both announced temporary closures as well.
Meanwhile, Bombshells plans to reopen Thursday at 11 a.m.