New Hampshire health officials announced Friday that they have identified potential community exposure to COVID-19 at five well-known restaurants across the state.
The affected restaurants include the Daniel Street Tavern and The Goat Bar and Grill in downtown Portsmouth, The Draft Sports Bar and Grill and The Barley House Restaurant and Tavern in downtown Concord and the Bantam Grill in Peterborough.
At least four people who visited Daniel Street Tavern while potentially infectious have tested positive for the coronavirus. The exposure occurred in the bar area on the evenings of Oct. 9, Oct. 14 and Oct. 15.
At least one person has tested positive who visited The Goat Bar and Grill while potentially infectious. Health officials said the exposure occurred at the bar on Oct. 15, between 8 and 10 p.m.
At least five people have tested positive who visited The Draft Sports Bar and Grill. The potential exposures occurred on Oct. 9, Oct. 11 and from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18. The investigation is ongoing, so anyone who visited the establishment since Oct. 9 should watch for symptoms and seek testing if they develop.
At least two people who tested positive for COVID-19 visited the Barley House Restaurant and Tavern while potentially infectious. The potential exposure occurred in the bar area between Oct. 12 and Oct. 14 and on Oct. 16. This investigation also remains active, so anyone who visited the Barley House since Oct. 12 is advised to watch for symptoms and seek testing if they develop.
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At least one person who has tested positive visited the Bantam Grill. The potential exposure at that location was on the evening of Oct. 13.
“It was one of our employees, one of our servers, that tested positive,” said Harris Welden, owner of Bantam Grill.
Welden decided to close down for 10 days and says he worries it could happen again.
“Because I don’t control any of the 50 or so people that work for me outside of the hours they’re in the restaurant,” he said. “And I also don’t control the customers and what they’re doing, their behavior outside the restaurant, it’s an untenable situation.”
The Bantam Grill said on Facebook this week that they are closed until Tuesday. They have been closed since Sunday after the employee tested positive for COVID-19. All of their other employees have been tested and none of them are positive.
None of the other restaurants posted anything on their social media accounts about potential closures related to the coronavirus cases.
The state Department of Health and Human Services said it has conducted contact tracing investigations on all cases associated with these potential community exposures and is notifying known close contacts directly. They said they decided to make a public announcement because there could be additional individuals at the locations who were exposed to the coronavirus.
Several other restaurants in Portsmouth and one in Hudson recently closed after COVID cases were identified among employees and patrons at their establishments.