What if your restaurant makes me sick?
In response to the guest column by Jimmy Yeager and Jessica Lischka (“Reopening must happen soon or decisions will have to be made,” May 7, The Aspen Times) — I think their rush to reopen – to get back to business as usual is risky.
A CNN reporter, Kenneth Chang, reported in January 2020 about a restaurant in Guanghou, China, “[O]ne diner infected with the novel coronavirus but not yet feeling sick appeared to have spread the disease to nine other people. One of the restaurant’s air-conditioners apparently blew the virus particles around the dining room.”
To Jimmy and Jessica, or any other restaurant owner wanting to reopen, a few questions:
(1) When I return to your restaurant, what is your responsibility to me if I become infected with COVID-19 from another guest, or your employee while at your restaurant?
(2) What’s your plan to coordinate with public health officials to identify any source of infection (guest or employee) at your restaurant, and then inform me and other guests about our exposure, if a guest, or your employee were to test positive for COVID-19?
3) If I dined at your restaurant, and contracted COVID-19 at your restaurant as a result, would you assist me with my medical bills?
(4) If I dined at your restaurant, contracted COVID-19 there, and died as a consequence of visiting your restaurant, would you help my family pay for my funeral costs?
Your assumption when restaurants reopen, customers will return, is flawed. Major events in the Aspen area have been cancelled for the summer, and tourism, in the near future, will probably remain flat.
Restaurants (yours included) may open, but I will take a wait and see approach. If, after several weeks, there are no local spikes in the virus, I will cautiously return to my favorite restaurants. Until then, I prefer to remain safer at home.
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