More Bay Area restaurants close temporarily because of breakthrough coronavirus cases on staff

With the highly contagious delta variant on the rise in the Bay Area, there’s one early pandemic trend that’s coming back: temporary restaurant closures because of staffers being exposed to the coronavirus. After starting with a trickle, these closures have happened more in the last week — specifically among fully […]

With the highly contagious delta variant on the rise in the Bay Area, there’s one early pandemic trend that’s coming back: temporary restaurant closures because of staffers being exposed to the coronavirus.

After starting with a trickle, these closures have happened more in the last week — specifically among fully vaccinated employees. Most closures happened after a staffer suspected being exposed to someone with the virus tested positive thereafter, subsequently prompting the entire restaurant staff to get tested.

San Francisco restaurants Nari and Aziza both recently announced days-long closures after vaccinated staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. Oakland’s Ramen Shop is also closed after a vaccinated employee tested positive, according to an Instagram post. And North Beach institution Tosca Cafe has closed twice in the past three weeks, with the most recent closure happening last week after a vaccinated employee tested positive, according to an email sent to diners with reservations.

Japantown’s Nari announced a weeklong closure Thursday on Instagram after three fully vaccinated employees tested positive, according to owner and chef Pim Techamuanvivit. When a server first tested positive for the coronavirus last week, the entire staff got tested and received negative results. But Techamuanvivit said she sent back a few employees who had gotten rapid antigen tests for a PCR test, which is considered more accurate because it detects the virus’ actual genetic material. Afterward, two more employees tested positive. Two of the three are showing mild symptoms and the third is asymptomatic, she said. It’s unlikely for fully vaccinated people who contract the virus to fall seriously ill or need hospitalization, public health officials have said.

At Aziza, managing partner Scott Chilcutt confirmed the restaurant has been closed since last Saturday after three fully vaccinated staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. Aziza won’t reopen until next weekend, he said.

Tosca co-owner Anna Weinberg said three fully vaccinated employees have tested positive in recent weeks, with mild symptoms. Restaurants’ closing and reopening cycle, she said, feels like an “accordion.” Weinberg said she isn’t rushing to reopen her other restaurants, including Petit Marlowe and Leo’s Oyster Bar, because of the uncertainty about the delta variant.

Restaurants have taken varied approaches to communicating their temporary closures to the public. Techamuanvivit posted a lengthy explanation on Nari’s Instagram page. She said it’s important to be upfront with guests.

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