Chatham Squire COVID-19 Cluster Peaks At Seven

By: Tim Wood

The Chatham Squire was closed Tuesday. A cluster of seven positive COVID-19 cases originated from employees of the Main Street restaurant, according to officials. TIM WOOD PHOTO

CBI Closes After Server Tests Positive

CHATHAM – A cluster of COVID-19 cases among members of the Chatham Squire staff has grown to seven.

The Squire closed Aug. 30 after one person tested positive. It reopened Monday after cleaning, but closed again after subsequent testing of 15 staff members revealed three more positive cases. Three additional cases were identified by Visiting Nurse Association contact tracers and reported to the town Friday. Other individuals were quarantining after having close contact with the positive staff members. The Main Street restaurant underwent further deep cleaning and sanitizing, Health and Natural Resource Director Robert Duncanson reported last Friday, in accordance with state and federal guidelines.

The Squire was closed Tuesday. Duncanson said he was not aware of any further cases beyond the seven already reported, and town officials had reached out to the Squire management to inquire about the closure. With the positive staff members and others who were quarantined, the restaurant may just be short staffed, he said.

“Their staff may have just needed some downtime,” he said.

Two of those who tested positive are Chatham residents, four live in Harwich and one in Yarmouth, Duncanson said in a press release.

Two other restaurants reported positive tests of staff members recently, also prompting brief closures for cleaning and disinfecting. After an employee at Chatham Bars Inn tested positive, the resort closed its kitchens and two dining rooms for deep cleaning last Friday. The Red Nun restaurant closed Aug. 28 after an employee tested positive. The restaurant reopened 24 hours later after deep cleaning and sanitizing, in accordance with state and federal protocols.

Duncanson said the health department was notified late last Friday afternoon that a CBI server had tested positive. The Shore Road inn's main kitchen and two dining areas where the server had worked, the STARS Restaurant and Harbor View meeting room, were closed. A professional cleaner was brought in to deep clean and disinfect the facilities, Duncanson said. Inn officials indicated that the kitchen had been routinely cleaned every two hours, so it was allowed to open Saturday morning. The two dining rooms remained closed until Saturday evening to satisfy the 24-hour period required by state protocols. The server indicated there was no close contact with patrons or other staff, Duncanson said. All employees and guests were notified, and there have been no further positive cases reported by the inn, he said. The worker was not a Chatham resident.

Several people who ate at the Squire contacted the town expressing concern, according to last week's press release. However, none of the positive employees told Visiting Nurse Association contact tracers that they were in close contact — defined as being within six feet of a person for 15 minutes or more — with any patrons. To date, the VNA has not found any patrons infected by restaurant employee exposure, according to the press release.

Patrons who feel they were in close contact should monitor for symptoms and contact their doctor to discuss further actions, Duncanson said.