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More than 50 Charleston area restaurants have closed temporarily because of COVID-19 cases

Stella's closed this week

Stella's closed this week. Hanna Raskin/Staff

At their best, restaurants reflect their communities, which means eating places in Charleston are typically energetic, optimistic and focused on high-quality food. While all of that may still be true, it also means that local restaurants and bars now have a major coronavirus problem.

With COVID-19 surging in the Charleston area, an increasing number of restaurant workers have been among those testing positive for the potentially lethal disease.

That’s no doubt, in part, because indoor dining rooms provide the ideal conditions for virus transmission, including limited space for social distancing; reduced air circulation; and numerous people laughing, talking loudly and lingering over disinhibiting alcoholic drinks.

But if it’s easy to guess at the source of employee coronavirus cases, it’s harder for restaurant owners to know what to do when confronted with one. There is no local, state or federal guidance outlining the steps that a restaurant should take, although health officials are urging owners to mind privacy concerns when formulating their responses.

In other words, keep the following in mind when reviewing this list of restaurants that, since last Friday, have either reopened after a temporary closure or closed their doors:

DON’T assume that if a restaurant isn’t on this list, its staff is coronavirus-free. Restaurants are not obligated to close in the wake of an employee testing positive.

DON’T assume that if a restaurant is on this list, it has at least one infected person on its staff. As cases mount, many restaurants are proactively closing to protect employees, especially since most restaurants can’t operate if a significant number of its employees are quarantined.

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Restaurants this week attributed temporary closures to employees showing symptoms and general unease about coronavirus’ spread in the city’s dining district (which may or may not be the whole story: Remember, privacy concerns are paramount).

DON’T jump to the conclusion that if a restaurant appears on this list, it didn’t take the proper precautions to keep its staff safe. Even the most fastidious owner can’t monitor what employees do outside of the workplace or force guests to behave responsibly from the moment they cross the threshold.

DON’T let this list dissuade you from picking up the phone or checking social media before making a restaurant decision: Restaurants sometimes reopen without much warning, and the just-before-Friday-service closure announcement is becoming a minor local tradition.

DO look out for your fellow diners and restaurant employees if you decide to dine out this weekend.

Wear a mask, eat outside if you can, abide by social distancing requests and refrain from criticizing employees for using personal protective equipment. In fact, instead of giving them guff for trying to mitigate risk in a dangerous situation, consider instead giving them extremely generous tips.

(And one final don't for online readers: DON'T try to access this list through The Post and Courier app. It won't appear there because of a technical glitch. You'll have to open the page in a browser.)

Charleston area restaurants which have closed in connection with coronavirus cases

Restaurant name Closing date Reopening date
5 Church n/a 22-Jun
Bar George 21-Jun 23-Jun
Betty Lou's Bistro 22-Jun 25-Jun
Chubby Fish 24-Jun n/a
Daps 20-Jun 26-Jun
Darling Oyster Bar 20-Jun n/a
Dudleys on Ann 20-Jun 24-Jun
Estadio 25-Jun n/a
Halls Chophouse 20-Jun n/a
Hank's Seafood Restaurant 25-Jun n/a
Jasmine Porch 23-Jun n/a
LG's By the Creek 22-Jun 26-Jun
Millers All Day 21-Jun n/a
Oak Barrel Tavern 24-Jun n/a
Proof 20-Jun n/a
Rita's Seaside Grille 24-Jun n/a
Stella's 20-Jun n/a
Taco Boy 22-Jun 24-Jun
Tattoooed Moose 24-Jun n/a
The Brick 25-Jun n/a
The Community Table 22-Jun 24-Jun
The Gin Joint 20-Jun 25-Jun
The Grocery 23-Jun n/a
The Red Drum 18-Jun 26-Jun
Uptown Social 20-Jun n/a
Vespa Pizza 21-Jun n/a
Water's Edge 21-Jun n/a
Wiki Wiki Sandbar 22-Jun 26-Jun
Xiao Bao Biscuit 22-Jun 23-Jun

Reach Hanna Raskin at 843-937-5560 and follow her on Twitter @hannaraskin.

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