COVID on the coast
Two more Coastside businesses say they have had employees infected by COVID-19. Photo courtesy Google Street View

Two prominent Coastside businesses — the area’s largest grocer and a popular bar and restaurant — have reported employees with COVID-19.

A spokeswoman for Safeway in the Strawflower Village confirmed on Thursday afternoon that one employee tested positive for coronavirus. Wendy Gutshall, director of public and government affairs for Safeway in Northern California, said the associate is receiving medical care and hasn’t been inside the store for 10 days. She said the store will remain open “and we will continue to follow an enhanced cleaning, sanitizing and/or disinfecting process in every department,” she said in an email to the Review.

Gutshall said employees were reminded to wash their hands frequently and to keep all touch points in the store regularly disinfected. She said the company sometimes requires other employees to self-quarantine depending on an investigation into who may have had contact with anyone who tests positive.

Meanwhile, the owner of the Old Princeton Landing bar and restaurant says he thinks two employees have been infected by coronavirus and that he is taking steps to make sure his popular eatery is safe when it reopens.

Owner Brian Overfelt said Thursday afternoon that he learned a day earlier that two employees might have been sick with COVID-19. He noted he was not entirely sure either had tested positive for the virus. He said one had recently checked out of the hospital and indicated both were recovering.

Overfelt said he immediately closed the restaurant, which had been open and selling takeout food under provisions of San Mateo County sheltering orders.

“We are going to take three or four or five days to regroup (before reopening),” he said.

In the meantime, Overfelt said he would disinfect the building on Capistrano Road in Princeton and perform some regular maintenance. He said he reported what he knew to county public health officials and was heeding their advice. He said he looked into COVID-19 testing through the Verily Project Baseline program in the county but so far has been unable to schedule an appointment.

Overfelt said he called all his employees to tell them the situation and planned to pay them what they would have earned through the upcoming weekend.

Overfelt acknowledged that operating through the lockdown has been a challenge, particularly when crowds descend on the coast over the weekends. He said he was coming back from surfing on Sunday afternoon when he noticed 50 or 60 people mingling in front of the business. He said he immediately told that crowd to disperse. On another day, a San Mateo County Sheriff’s deputy pointed out that four people were seated at his establishment. He said he hadn’t noticed the customers and immediately asked them to leave.

Libby Leyden contributed to this story.

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