By Jim Newell
Fork n’ Pint restaurant in Lake Orion closed last week after someone at the restaurant tested positive for COVID-19.
Fork n’ Pint owner Doug Young said the case in question was asymptomatic but would not disclose any other information due to HIPAA laws (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996), a federal law that requires sensitive patient health information from being disclosed without the patient’s consent or knowledge.
He did confirm that 11 workers at the restaurant have now been quarantined as a precautionary measure.
Young said that the restaurant was already running on a limited staff and without employees he had to shut down. He hopes to reopen Fork n’ Pint on July 7.
“It was brought to our attention Wednesday night (June 24),” Young said. “Thursday morning, we did a complete sanitation.”
Young said an employee from the Oakland County Health Department came into Fork ‘n Pint on Thursday afternoon and observed the workers.
“Someone from the health department came in on Thursday afternoon, she did not announce herself and just observed. She had no problems with our operation when she did identify herself,” Young said, adding that employees were following all the necessary safety guidelines.
“Their report clears us of everything. They said we’re following all the right procedures,” Young said. “Our issue was operating at the limited staff that we are. (Staff) who had been around (Fork n’ Pint) had to be quarantined. Without people, I couldn’t run the business, so we had to close.”
Fork n’ Pint is also currently looking to add staff. Anyone interested should email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
On Friday afternoon, Fork n’ Pint took the proactive step to inform anyone who may have been at the restaurant, announcing via its Facebook page that it would be closing temporarily. The text of the that post is below:
“Over the weekend, we had an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 at our location. As soon as we were notified, a professional cleaning company thoroughly sterilized the entire facility. We passed all health code inspections and operating procedures and the health department confirmed that we could remain open for business. Despite that, we have decided to temporarily close until July 7th as a precautionary measure. We made this decision with an abundance of caution and will continue to keep our guests’ & staffs’ health and safety as our utmost priority. We would also like to thank you, our wonderful community, for all of your continued support.”
There is also a COVID-19 employee checklist on the door of the restaurant, dated June 24, with eight employees saying they had not experienced any symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
“We’re all moving forward and learning to toe the line with this, and we’re following all precautions and procedures,” Young said. “But where we can go above and beyond, we want to do that for the safety of our employees and guests.”
To that end, Young said they have had a sanitization company come and completely sanitize the restaurant. The product Fork n’ Pint is using is an antiviral sanitizing compound good for 30 days to kill COVID and envelope viruses, he said, adding that the restaurant will continue the process on a monthly basis, in addition to everyday cleaning procedures.
Young does want guests to Fork n’ Pint to know that he and the staff take their safety seriously. Fork n’ Pint has had curbside pickup during the lockdown, and since reopening has observed all safety procedures.
Besides limiting the number of guests inside, per distance requirements, Fork n’ Pint also has outdoor seating.
“We’re not hiding from anything. It’s here. We’re going to take the appropriate precautions and try to keep moving forward,” Young said. “Since reopening we know there’s people who are pleased to see us open.
“It’s not as good as last year at this time, but it’s not as bad as it could be. It’s still a long way from healthy commerce. There’s still a lot of challenges,” he said.