Several businesses in Boise have had to temporarily close locations after employees tested positive, or probable, for COVID-19.
BOISE, Idaho — As businesses work to open back up and stay afloat amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, employers are facing the added challenge of keeping their workforce healthy.
Some local businesses are temporarily closing their doors as they work to balance community health with business operations.
Mark Hansen, owner of Blue Sky Bagels said they had to temporarily close their Fairview Avenue location after one employee at that location showed symptoms and another learned they had been in direct contact with someone outside the company who had tested positive for coronavirus.
While they await employee test results, Hansen said they felt the best course of action was to close the location out of caution.
“The frustrating part is the lag in business,” he said. “It takes three to seven business days, they say, and you only get notified if it’s a positive. That’s a long time to be waiting.”
Hansen said when Blue Sky’s four locations reopened back in April, they received phenomenal support from the community, which he’s grateful for. Business has boomed since then, but maybe a little too much, too soon.
“Coming out of lockdown you want to be busy but not too busy and I think we got too busy. We were pushing over 90% of normal,” he said.
Other Boise businesses are also dealing with employees testing positive for COVID-19.
Businesses such as the Boise Fry Company, The Melting Pot and 10 Barrel Brewing all posted publicly on social media that at least one employee at tested positive for the virus. As a result, they temporarily closed certain locations as a precaution. Some, like 10 Barrel, have since reopened with additional protocols.
Hansen said he’s not sure when the Fairview location will be able to reopen. Dealing with staff members having to quarantine for 14 days leaves a gap in staffing, adding another challenge for the business.
“We’re coming up with our plan to see if it’s best to keep one store closed or start closing one or two days a week at each store just to spread out staffing as we try to hire a few more,” he said. “But we probably need to get to the point where we need to have three to six extra employees just to make up for people going into quarantine.”
Safety is what’s most important right now and so Hansen believes it’s more important than ever for businesses to be transparent with the community and their customers – which is what Blue Sky Bagels has tried to do.
“Trust is all you have. I think once you can’t trust what people are doing, it’s hard to earn that back,” he said. “We’ve always been open and honest about how we operate and good, bad or indifferent, we have nothing to hide.”
Hansen added that while he’s glad people want to support local businesses, it’s important to remember the responsibility that comes with it.
“It’s encouraging how much people want to stay out and about and support local business but I think everyone has to realize a big part of that is being safe,” he said. “And part of being safe is wearing face masks, keeping distance and not being crazy and thinking we’re back in six months ago. Life is different for the near future.”
Facts not fear: More on coronavirus
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