Oceanside Restaurant Reopens After Two COVID-19 Cases Among Employees

Mission Avenue Bar & Grill closed for 6 days while the entire staff was tested for COVID-19, and reopened on June 29

Mission Avenue Bar & Grill

A bar and restaurant in Oceanside that temporarily closed last week due to positive cases of COVID-19 among two employees reopened its doors Monday.

Mission Avenue Bar & Grill on Mission Avenue posted a message on social media on June 25 letting customers know the business would be closed for a bit. That message said two employees had tested positive for COVID-19 on June 23. The restaurant said it chose to shut down immediately to keep both the public and its staff safe.

“We are following current protocols and hired a professional cleaning company to sanitize the entire restaurant with disinfectant that day,” the Facebook post read.

The business said it would provide every employee with COVID-19 testing to assure that when the restaurant reopens “every employee returning will have had a negative result.”

On Monday, Mission Avenue Bar & Grill was back in business. A photo posted on Facebook just after 10:30 a.m. showed an employee wearing a face mask with the caption:

"DOORS ARE OPEN! Thank you all for your support and encouraging words and wishes this past week! We are very grateful to be able to open and serve you again, safely. "

Mission Avenue Bar & Grill owner Cameron Braselton spoke with NBC 7 Monday about his decision to close and, now, reopen.

He said his entire staff had been tested for COVID-19 and those tests all came back negative. The majority of his employees are now back at work, ready to serve their patrons.

Braselton said his restaurant shuttered in mid-March as the coronavirus pandemic reached San Diego County and bars and restaurant dining rooms were ordered to close.

In mid-April, he reopened his business for take-out cocktails, and on May 21, he reopened the dining room. The bar and grill had been open for just about a month when the two cases of COVID-19 hit Braselton's staff.

He said the decision to temporarily close -- even if only for 6 days -- was tough, but necessary.

"It was the responsible thing to do," Braselton said.

He hopes his staff and patrons return to his business this week with confidence, knowing all safety measures have been followed.

Meanwhile, Masters Kitchen & Cocktail on South Coast Highway, about one-third of a mile south of Mission Avenue Bar & Grill, also decided to temporarily close last week due to a positive case of COVID-19.

That eatery's June 25 social media post didn't go into great detail but said there had been a recent positive test of COVID-19 at the location. As a health and safety precaution, Masters said it would close for two weeks, with plans to reopen on July 8.

San Diego County public health officials gave restaurants the green light to reopen their dining rooms back on May 21 so long as all state and county reopening guidelines and safety measures were followed.

Since then, restaurant owners have had to adapt to many changes and unexpected challenges, from having to enforce the use of face masks in dining rooms to positive cases of COVID-19 among staffers influencing the tough decisions to shutter businesses once more.

These two restaurants in Oceanside are the latest local eateries to temporarily close due to positive cases of COVID-19 among employees as San Diego County continues to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, Temecula’s popular Wilson Creek Winery & Vineyards shut down after two employees tested positive for COVID-19.

Before that, Nolita Hall in Little Italy became San Diego’s first restaurant to go public with a positive case of COVID-19, also in an employee. Nolita Hall also decided to temporarily close and made the news of the case public in an effort to be transparent with both customers and staff.

An employee tested positive at a popular Little Italy restaurant, prompting the restaurant owner to close his business as a precaution. NBC 7's Priya Sridhar reports.
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