Should businesses publicly announce COVID-19 infections?

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – With coronavirus cases on the rise and businesses reopening, it is no surprise that workers are starting to get infected. At least two Albuquerque businesses recently had to deal with COVID-19 cases.

Mark Pardo Salon and Spa posted on Facebook Sunday that an individual at their Coors location tested positive for the virus. It is unclear if that person was an employee or customer. They said all guests who were exposed have been contacted, and the location remains closed while employees get tested.

El Pinto, who had an infected employee, did not announce its infection publicly. The restaurant did call people who had reservations this past weekend to cancel, citing an infected employee. However, KRQE News 13 did not see anything on their social media pages or website.

Department of Health spokesperson David Morgan said it is ultimately up to individual businesses to decide if they want to announce. “We certainly understand the possibility of being forthright can actually scare customers away, but also sometimes honesty is the best policy,” Morgan said. “It is just dependent upon the individual business to be able to make the right choice for them.”

While there is currently no requirement to announce publicly, Morgan said a restaurant is an example of a business he said should let the public know. He said it may not be necessary for somewhere like a bank where business is solely being conducted online or drive-thru services with no personal contact.

People around town said they think businesses have a responsibility to make infections known. “I think businesses should be transparent, especially if we are going to remain open and try to have customers coming in,” Albuquerque resident Melina Valladares said. “I would want to know.”

The Department of Health said when they know an employee has tested positive at a business, the state offers to deploy a rapid response team to get all employees there tested. El Pinto said all of its employees have been tested in the following statement:

El Pinto has followed all required COVID-safe practices and we have met and exceeded Centers for Disease Control guidance with regard to positive tests.  El Pinto was immediately in contact with the state. We asked our current staff to be voluntarily tested out of exuberant caution,  and 100% of all employees currently working have tested negative.  The health and safety of our customers and employees has always been and continues to be our top priority.

El Pinto Management

KRQE News 13 reached out to Mark Pardo Salon and Spa to learn more about their response to the infection, but we did not hear back. KRQE News 13 also contacted other local businesses about what their response would be. While many businesses said they have a plan in place if there is a COVID-positive individual, they did not feel comfortable commenting further about the possibility of infections.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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