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Breckenridge restaurant reports four cases; restaurant has voluntarily closed; all positive cases have been isolated and close contacts have been quarantined
Contact: Julie Sutor, Director of Communications
SUMMIT COUNTY – The Summit County Public Health Department, in coordination with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), is investigating an outbreak of COVID-19 at Downstairs at Eric’s, a restaurant in Breckenridge. The restaurant has four cases among employees.
"This is not surprising news, and in fact, we expect to see small outbreaks like this as we take steps to stabilize our economy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic," Summit Public Health Director Amy Wineland said. "But through our surveillance and contact tracing processes, and close collaboration with the owner of the establishment, we were able to identify positive cases early on and contain spread from this outbreak."
Downstairs at Eric’s is a family sports bar and arcade located on Main Street in Breckenridge. During COVID-19 restaurant closures, the restaurant had been providing take-out service but had not been open to dine-in service. The four employee cases developed symptoms between May 11 and May 18. The first positive test result was confirmed on May 18.
"This is an extremely tough set of circumstances that we’re all dealing with," restaurant owner Eric Mamula said. "Most importantly, my heart goes out to my team, especially those who have fallen ill. This is not an easy time to be a restaurant worker, and it’s frightening to get hit by this virus. We have put our full support behind our employees, and we’re doing everything we can to get everyone back to a place of good health. We look forward to opening again and seeing our customers when we feel it’s safe to do so."
Summit County Public Health has learned that some of the sick individuals had been socializing together the week of May 10. Public health officials do not believe that the infected workers posed a substantial risk to customers who purchased take-out meals during the past several weeks. COVID-19 is not known to spread through food.
"We applaud Eric and his entire team for their proactive approach to dealing with this outbreak," Wineland said. "Being transparent, vigilant and responsive is the key to containing these small outbreaks. Strong partnerships like this between public health officials and local employers will serve as a cornerstone of our efforts as we move through stabilization toward recovery."
Summit County Public Health has been working with the restaurant to discuss sanitation and cleaning procedures. The Summit County Public Health Surveillance Team is conducting a thorough investigation of the positive cases’ close contacts. The positive cases were immediately placed in isolation, and all close contacts identified thus far have been placed under quarantine.
"This outbreak is another reminder of how important prevention measures are in our continued efforts to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Summit County Environmental Health Manager Dan Hendershott said. "We ask that everyone continue to be diligent in physical distancing measures, wearing face coverings in public spaces, frequent handwashing and staying home when sick."
The current Summit County Public Health Order requires face coverings that cover nose and mouth whenever indoors in buildings open to the public; face coverings are also required outdoors whenever 6 feet of separation between individuals is not feasible. Summit County is distributing thousands of free cloth face coverings at grocery stores and other businesses to workers and members of the public who need them.
Summit County Public Health emphasizes that cloth face coverings are a vital protective measure for workers and members of the public when in public spaces. Research shows that face coverings can help block the spread of COVID-19, especially by preventing transmission from people who are asymptomatically infected.
The outbreak investigation at Downstairs at Eric’s, including thorough contact tracing, remains in progress. In collaboration with Mamula, Summit County Public Health has been reaching out to all close contacts of positive cases and has offered testing for all the restaurant’s employees.
As with any communicable disease investigation, this COVID-19 investigation will take time to complete. Public Health officials are working with Mamula to ensure the restaurant is supportive of all isolation and quarantine protocols for all probable and positive cases. The restaurant will eventually reopen in close consultation with Summit County Public Health, when established health protocols have been met.