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Orange County restaurants close for cleaning as coronavirus cases continue to climb

Diners sit outdoors at Pacific City restaurants in Huntington Beach in 2016.
People sit outside restaurants at Pacific City in Huntington Beach in this 2016 file photo. Bluegold/LSXO, a restaurant in the outdoor mall, said Monday it was closing for deep cleaning amid the coronavirus crisis.
(Kevin Chang / Times Community News)

A handful of Orange County restaurants have temporarily closed in the last week to deep clean and sanitize their spaces, some after discovering that employees had been infected with COVID-19, business owners said.

Bluegold/LSXO at Pacific City in Huntington Beach said in an Instagram message Monday that it planned to close Tuesday through Thursday to demonstrate its “commitment to staying safe and promoting health.”

“During this time we will take care of our employees, deep clean our space, and tighten our safety plans to bring you and your family a safe and fun experience,” the restaurant wrote.

Red O, a Mexican restaurant at Fashion Island in Newport Beach, also announced Tuesday that it was voluntarily closing for a deep cleaning.

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Neither restaurant said its closure was the result of an employee testing positive for the coronavirus, which causes COVID-19.

Other restaurants have been more specific about the reason behind their closures, which were first reported by the Orange County Register.

The Dylan in Brea wrote on Instagram last week that it closed after an employee tested positive. The restaurant noted that the employee was asymptomatic and always wore a mask while working. No other employees have reported symptoms.

“They sought out testing on their own when they lost their sense of taste on Monday,” the restaurant wrote. “We have done everything in our power to provide a safe environment for everyone. Employees get masks, their own bottle of hand sanitizer and we have multiple sanitizing stations around the restaurant as well as people dedicated to cleaning high contact surfaces among many other precautions.”

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Cha for Tea near the UC Irvine campus is expected to reopen Wednesday after a roughly weeklong closure prompted by an employee testing positive. The restaurant wrote on social media that the employee tested positive after going to a bar with friends where face coverings were not being used.

Clancy’s bar in Seal Beach also announced a temporary closure on Saturday after one or more individuals who had recently visited the bar tested positive for the virus. It is not clear when the bar plans to reopen.

Orange County health officials have declined to confirm or deny whether any specific restaurant closure is due to the coronavirus. Los Angeles County keeps a list online of businesses where employees have tested positive. As of Wednesday morning, 58 restaurants, stores and other workplaces had confirmed cases among their staffs countywide.

Officials in Orange County have said that if a staff member at any business reports having COVID-19, the public health services team will reach out to the facility to provide guidance.

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“If there is a cluster of cases, depending on the number of cases and the size of the facility, we may either mandate that all staff be tested and/or a facility close for a period of time until it is clearly safe to reopen,” Marc Meulman, chief of operations for Orange County Public Health Services, said in a statement last month.

Beachwood BBQ & Brewing, which has locations in Long Beach, Huntington Beach and Seal Beach, announced Wednesday that it plans to permanently close its flagship location on Main Street in Seal Beach. The brewery’s owners pointed to the challenges of operating a small space amid the coronavirus pandemic as a key reason for their decision not to reopen.

On Wednesday, Orange County health officials ordered all bars, pubs, breweries and brewpubs that do not offer dine-in meals to close beginning at midnight Thursday, a move health experts say is necessary in light of a troubling surge in coronavirus cases.

Orange County confirmed 10 additional coronavirus-related deaths and 779 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, the largest single-day number of new infections the county has reported since the pandemic hit. The daily tally brings the total number of coronavirus cases in Orange County to 13,843. Officials have reported 340 deaths countywide.


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