Dutch Bros confirms second and third positive COVID-19 tests

Posted at 1:17 PM, Apr 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-01 15:54:46-04

BOISE — Just days after closing a Meridian Dutch Bros location, the drive-through coffee shop is confirming two more employees at two more Treasure Valley locations have tested positive in recent days.

A spokeswoman for the company tells 6 On Your Side employees at the stores on Chinden in Garden City and Broadway in Boise have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, leading to closures of both locations for deep cleaning and sanitization.

Just last weekend, an employee of the popular coffee shops tested positive. That employee worked at a Meridian store on Calderwood. That location was also closed for a deep cleaning and was reopened earlier this week.

In an email to 6 On Your Side, Dutch Bros officials gave us the following information:

As Dutch Bros and the community navigate these unprecedented times, we feel we serve our community best when we’re open and transparent about the circumstances we’re facing at some of our shops. That's why we want to let you know two employees, one from our Dutch Bros Boise Chinden location and another from Dutch Bros Broadway location, have tested positive for COVID-19.

We received news of the positive test at Chinden yesterday, 3/31, and immediately started the process of closing the shop. We followed the same procedures when we learned today, 4/1, of the positive test at Broadway. Both locations are now scheduled for a third-party deep clean.

As an additional precaution, and out of respect for our crews and communities, we’re also having a third-party service clean our other Boise locations.

We believe full transparency around these cases is the best way we can serve you during this time. While personnel and medical privacy regulations limit what we can share, here’s what information we can provide:

5177 W Chinden Blvd, Garden City, ID

The employee first exhibited symptoms on 3/16. Dutch Bros followed and exceeded CDC presumed case guidelines which require an employee to be out of work for seven days and be symptom free for 72 hours, whichever is longer. Out of an abundance of caution, the employee didn’t return to work until 3/28.

2630 S Broadway Ave, Boise, ID

The employee first exhibited symptoms after working a morning shift on Tuesday, 3/31. The employee was tested the same day and results were made available on Wednesday, 4/1. The employee has not returned to work and is now on paid leave.

In both of these situations, we have identified which employees had direct contact with the affected employees. Those employees are currently in isolation for 14 days and are receiving paid leave.
In both of these situations, we have identified which employees had direct contact with the affected employees. Those employees are currently in isolation for 14 days and are receiving paid leave.

In the meantime, we have taken the following steps over the last few weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

· Enforced increased hand-washing and sanitizing

· Temporarily suspended the use of personal mugs at our drive-thurs

· Temporarily closed walk-ins and walk-ups to focus exclusively on serving through our drive-thru windows

· Instituted a cashless payment system, eliminating unnecessary touch points between customers and broistas

We want the community to know we’re following all recommended CDC guidelines and will continue to keep the community’s health at the forefront of all decisions we make.
Dutch Bros

Below are the FAQs that further address COVID-19 as it relates to transactions in a food establishment. These were also posted at the bottom of the first story relating to Dutch Bros and a positive test:

Q: Does coronavirus spread through food?

A: It is unlikely, and there is no current evidence, that the novel virus is transmitted through food or water. History with previous outbreaks of coronavirus such as SARS and MERS suggest that people do not likely become infected with coronavirus through food. However, limited research on the new coronavirus indicates that it can be shed in stool. It is not known at this time whether the virus can make people sick after it has passed through the digestive tract.

While we don’t believe the novel virus can spread through food, we do know other germs can. We highly encourage people to practice routine food safety procedures to reduce risk:

· Only handle food when healthy. People that are coughing, feverish, short of breath, vomiting or have diarrhea or other symptoms of illness should stay out of the kitchen.

· Wash hands to reduce risk of illness. Always wash hands thoroughly before and during food preparation.

· Rinse fruits and vegetables before cutting or eating. Rinse raw agricultural products, such as heads of lettuce, under running water prior to cutting or serving. Bagged lettuces that are ready-to-eat do not need additional washing.

· Thoroughly cook whatever you can. Cooking destroys many germs, including coronavirus.

· Clean and sanitize food contact surfaces. Wash, rinse, and sanitize cutting boards, tables, utensils, and other food contact surfaces often.

Q: What is the role of money in the spread of COVID-19?

A: According to CDC, money is not likely a primary mode of transmission of coronavirus, however, it may be possible to transfer the virus by touching a contaminated surface and then touching the mouth, nose, or eyes. Customers and employees are encouraged to properly wash their hands often throughout the day, including after handling money, and always before they eat or touch their eyes, nose, and mouth.

The FDA's website relating to COVID-19 gives some guidance about the safety of food with others handling those products, reading "currently, there is no evidence of food or food packaging being associated with transmission of COVID-19. However, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading from person-to-person in some communities in the U.S. The CDC recommends that if you are sick, stay home until you are better and no longer pose a risk of infecting others. Anyone handling, preparing and serving food should always follow safe food handling procedures, such as washing hands and surfaces often."