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.
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|
|Betty Lou's Bistro||22-Jun||25-Jun|
|Darling Oyster Bar||20-Jun||n/a|
|Dudleys on Ann||20-Jun||24-Jun|
|Hank's Seafood Restaurant||25-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|
|Rita's Seaside Grille||24-Jun||n/a|
|The Community Table||22-Jun||24-Jun|
|The Gin Joint||20-Jun||25-Jun|
|The Red Drum||18-Jun||26-Jun|
|Wiki Wiki Sandbar||22-Jun||26-Jun|
|Xiao Bao Biscuit||22-Jun||23-Jun|