Local restaurant closes after 2 COVID-19 positives

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Lai Lai closes through July 6 after employees test positive

The Barry County Health Department is reporting that two persons employed at Lai Lai Asian Buffet and Dining in Monett have tested positive for COVID-19.

Both cases are a result of community spread, and the individuals are under an isolation order. Close contacts are being contacted and, as appropriate, ordered to quarantine. All of those identified cases will be monitored daily by the Barry County Health Department.

“The owners of the restaurant are working closely with the Health Department to take all practical measures to ensure the safest possible environment for our citizens,” said Roger Brock, Barry County Health Department administrator.

“Lai Lai’s owner, out of an abundance of caution and a deep concern for staff, customers, and community, has volunteered to close the business until July 6.

“Additionally, they will complete an extensive deep cleaning of the restaurant, screen staff for symptoms of COVID-19 before each shift, require face coverings for all employees, and conduct frequent cleaning of all high touch surfaces.”

Brock noted that COVID-19 is not foodborne, and diners are at no risk of contracting COVID-19 from their meal. There is a low risk of contracting COVID-19 from employees who did not have a face covering. Customers do not need to self-quarantine unless symptoms develop. Anyone who develops symptoms should call their primary care provider or the Barry County Health Department at 417-847-2114.

Community-wide COVID-19 testing is available free on June 29 in Cassville, and people may register online at https://health.mo.gov/communitytest or by calling 877-435-8411.

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, shortness of breath or at least two of the following, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell. Symptoms may begin two days to two weeks after exposure.

“It is our personal responsibility to continue physical distancing, wear cloth face coverings, avoid large groups, and wash hands and surfaces frequently, to avoid the spread of COVID-19 in Barry County,” said David Compton, Barry County Office of Emergency Management director. “It is extremely commendable [of Lai Lai to close, and] the owners are demonstrating an exceptional personal commitment to their community in making a decision to temporarily close.”

State of Missouri and Barry County Phase II Reopening began June 16 and remains in effect until June 30. Those rules include recommendations to maintain physical distancing, required source control masking in certain circumstances, and enhanced hygiene practices.

Persons at a higher risk of serious illness from COVID-19 including those greater 65 years of age, who are immunocompromised or have chronic medical conditions should limit travel and wear a cloth face covering in public.

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