Some Area Restaurants Close Temporarily, Again, Over COVID-19 Concerns

By Jessica Maurer, posted Jun 23, 2020
The K-38 Baja Grill location in Porters Neck has closed temporarily because the restaurant was notified of a customer that had a positive COVID-19 test. (Photo from K-38's Facebook page)
Several area restaurants have reported temporary closures of their dining rooms in the past week as a result of coronavirus concerns.

New Hanover County announced its highest daily coronavirus case count to date Friday, with 53 new cases for what was then a total of 529 positive tests. As of 4 p.m. Monday, the county reported 611 people with positive COVID-19 tests.
Live.Eat.Surf, which operates area restaurants that include two K-38 Baja Grill locations, KBueno Mexi-Q Grill on Military Cutoff Road and Wrightsville Beach restaurants Tower 7 and Café Del Mar, has closed locations temporarily, a few for reasons related to the novel coronavirus.

The restaurants had received notification that individuals with confirmed positive COVID-19 tests had been present at K-38 in Porters Neck, K-38 on Oleander Drive and Tower 7 at 4 N. Lumina Ave., according to posts on the restaurants' Facebook page.

Each of the posts for the restaurants stated, "We take this occurrence and all Covid-19 threats seriously and will protect our employees and customers without fail. The established protocols in place of handwashing techniques, required mask wearing and frequent sanitizing continue to be an integral part of our operations."

Efforts to reach someone with Live.Surf.Eat were not immediately successful Tuesday.

For KBueno Mexi-Q Grill in The Forum, the post stated, "Covid-19 instances, not in any way directly related to our restaurant, have affected a significant portion of our staff. Due to the waiting time to receive testing results we are unable to adequately staff KBueno Mexi-Q Grill. As a result, we are closing the doors of our KBueno Mexi-Q location until further notice."

The company noted that it is customary practice at all Live.Eat.Surf restaurants that anyone having direct contact with someone testing positive would be quarantined for 14 days per the CDC guidelines, and that no employee will return to work without proven negative test results.

According to a post from June 16, Cafe Del Mar was temporarily closed for maintenance.

The Bridge Tender and Fish House Grill in Wrightsville Beach announced last week that each location received notification that a guest had tested positive for COVID-19 and that the restaurants would be closing temporarily as a result.

Eternal Sunshine Cafe reported that a guest that dined with them early last week was confirmed positive for COVID-19. The eatery has closed temporarily to allow for the testing of employees and sanitizing the cafe.

Other restaurants, though, have not had reported COVID-19 contact but are closing temporarily for dine-in service because of the ongoing rise in coronavirus cases.

In a Facebook posted dated June 19, a representative from the Copper Penny stated, “Out of an abundance of caution for our staff & you all, effective immediately, we will be pausing our dine-in service and resuming curbside takeout ONLY. We feel as though this is the best way to control our environment and make sure we aren’t aiding in the spread of this virus & keeping everyone as safe and healthy as we can.

"Thankfully, we just added our online ordering system which will streamline our curbside takeout that much more. We appreciate all of you who have been out to dine with us and continue to order takeout. We are looking forward to the day that we can be open at full capacity and have all of you back in our dining room.”
Freddie’s Restaurant of Kure Beach posted the following on June 20: "With the rapid uptick in Covid cases on the island we have made the decision to temporarily close effective at the end of service tonight, 6/20.

"While we haven’t had any employee test positive for the virus, we feel it would [be] appropriate at this time to close, have all employees tested as well as the building sanitized and disinfected. We anticipate reopening later this week.

"Thank you for your understanding and [we] apologize for any inconvenience. We will keep you updated on when we plan to reopen.”
Other restaurants without any cases of COVID-19 that have made announcements about suspending dine-in service include Salt Fish Restaurant and Tiki Bar and Nollie’s Taco Joint in Carolina Beach.

A Salt Fish Facebook post June 20 stated, "It is out of the greatest concern for our community that we will be closing for the next two weeks and not offering inside dining. Starting June 23rd. We will be doing contact free take out. If you have a reservation please contact us. We have no cases of covid 19, in our staff or customers. But there is an outbreak in Wilmington restaurants that we would prefer not to be a part of."

A Nollie's post June 21 said, "Due to the recent increase in Covid-19 cases in the area, we've decided that after we close at 9pm this evening we will remain closed for the upcoming week. Although we have had no employees test positive, we think its best for our staff, customers, and community to take this time to get all our staff tested and clean and sanitize the restaurant. We plan to reopen Monday, June 29th."

Staff writer Cece Nunn contributed to this report.
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