In the same week that Gov. Brian Kemp lifted some of the final coronavirus restrictions on restaurants, several in the Golden Isles closed temporarily after staff members tested positive for the virus while others closed for precautions.
Toucan’s Ale House, Skipper’s Fish Camp, Crab Trap, Bubba Garcia’s, Frosty’s and both Brogen’s locations shut down for cleaning and for time to test the remaining staff. The closings of Brogen’s North was announced Sunday along with those of Gnat's Landing and Marshside Grill.
Crabdaddy's on St. Simons announced that the restaurant will close for 48 hours starting Tuesday, out of an abundance of caution for staff, families and patrons. During that time, deep cleaning will be done on the restaurant and all staff will be tested.
Chile Peppers Island Cantina announced Monday that, upon learning that a second employee has tested positive for COVID-19, the restaurant will close for a couple of days. All other employees are being tested. Mellow Mushroom also announced it has closed temporarily to deep clean.
Skipper’s and The Crab Trap have both reopened.
In a weekend Facebook post, Frosty’s Griddle & Shake gave a “Heads up.”
“We have decided to close up shop and get everyone tested,’’ after learning that a member of the staff had been in direct contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, the post said.
Saying it wanted to be “upfront and honest,’’ Brogen’s South said an employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
Although the worker had not been in the building for eight days, Brogen’s South nonetheless said it would close until Tuesday to give time for all employees to undergo tests and “deep clean our restaurant for the safety of our staff and all our wonderful patrons.”
Brogen’s North said a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19 while Marshside and Gnats Landing said they were closing for safety reasons.
Gnat's said it was shutting its doors until Tuesday “in response and support” of recent restaurant closings on the island. Gnat's said no one on the staff had tested positive but that it would nonetheless take extra precautions by deep cleaning and sanitizing the restaurant.
“Thank you for you continued support as we prepare to serve you again on Tuesday, 6/23,’’ the Facebook notice said.
Marshside announced no date for reopening but said “we will reopen after careful consideration and mandatory COVID-19 testing for all our employees.”
The positive tests are among a surge in the area after Kemp gave the signal for a return to business as usual.
On May 1, the day when Kemp lifted his stay at home order but left in place some restrictions on business, Glynn County had 58 cases of the coronavirus and one death. As of 3 p.m. Sunday, the number of cases had surged to 305 cases with three deaths. There was, however, also a sharp increase in the availability of testing which accounts for some of the increase.
The number of positive cases across Georgia has climbed steadily after Kemp became the first governor to lift restrictions. There were some states, however, such as Arkansas that never imposed the restrictions that Kemp put in place temporarily.
When Skipper’s reopened Friday, it was as if nothing had happened, the staff said.
“Yesterday was our first day to reopen and we had a line at 5:30 [p.m.],’’ said Samuel Lee Sullivan, a lead server at the restaurant on the Darien River.
The demand for seafood appears unaffected, he said.
“They want shrimp, they want flounder, they want crab cakes. They don’t care about the coronavirus,’’ Sullivan said.
It also appears that the jump in cases has not hurt the tourism, at least on St. Simons. Traffic was stacked up in the village Saturday afternoon, the sidewalks were full and some of the restaurants that were open had waits.
Restaurant staff members are still required to wear face coverings.