Carbondale restaurant prompted to close temporarily after worker tests positive for COVID-19

John Stroud
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
The sign in front of White House Pizza in Carbondale indicates the temporary closure and where to find updated information.
John Stroud/Glenwood Springs Post Independent

White House Pizza in Carbondale was prompted to shut down temporarily this week after a worker there tested positive for COVID-19.

The restaurant announced in a Facebook post and on its website late Thursday that it had voluntarily closed “to make sure we can serve you safely” once able to reopen.

Reopening will not happen until Monday, at the earliest, White House General Manager Jake Behlow said Friday evening.

The worker in question who tested positive had gone camping on June 16, and last worked at the restaurant on June 18-19, Behlow elaborated in a follow-up post.

On June 20, another person in the camping party was confirmed to have COVID-19. That same day, the restaurant worker reported feeling tired and over the following weekend began to experience symptoms, Behlow said. A test on June 23 confirmed the employee was positive for COVID-19.

“We closed the night of the 24th until further notice. No other employees or guests have reported symptoms,” Behlow said, adding that all staff has since been tested and there have been no additional positive tests.

The decision to close was voluntary, though Garfield County Public Health was consulted for advice, he said.

“We feel completely confident we could continue to serve customers safely, but we decided to close so that our team players and the community would know we’re doing the right thing,” Behlow said.

Regular updates are being provided on the restaurant’s website.

The restaurant closure in Carbondale comes as Garfield County Public Health has reported a significant spike in new onset coronavirus cases over the past week to 10 days.

Another nine new cases were added to the cumulative total Friday morning, bringing the number of new cases just since June 15 to 59.

The county, as of late Friday, was reporting 259 confirmed or presumed positive cases since the outbreak began in early March.

Unless there’s a major outbreak at a single business or event, it’s up to individual businesses whether to close if worker tests positive, Garfield County Health Specialist Carrie Godes said.

“We haven’t had to force a restaurant to close due to a worker testing positive,” she said. “We do work with places that have had positives and provide guidance around protocols and cleaning procedures.”

Public Health’s nurse epidemiologist team then works with the establishment on contact tracing, she said.

“Most take all needed action themselves, but we are here for support, and enforcement if that were ever needed,” Godes said. 

County Health officials have warned that the recent surge in new cases could jeopardize the county’s efforts to reopen businesses to full capacity aside from state public health restrictions.

Many of the recent newly confirmed cases date back to before June 15, but if Garfield County sees 60 new cases in any given two-week period, the variance could be rescinded by the state.

Public health officials could not immediately say Friday if any other businesses in Garfield County have had to close during the recent onset of new cases.

Earlier this month, restaurants in the Basalt and Aspen areas had to close temporarily due to confirmed cases involving workers in those establishments.

“We are confident our strict adherence to CDC guidelines, masks, gloves, and sanitation practices, allowed our facility to remain safe for guests and teammates,” Behlow said in the earlier post regarding the situation at White House.