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Coronavirus outbreak at B.C. fast-food restaurant a wake-up call



B.C.’s top doctor says an outbreak at a fast-food restaurant serves as a “wake-up call” on workplace safety measures amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said Tuesday that four or five workers at a fast-food restaurant tested positive for COVID-19. She said she is not aware of any customers who were exposed.

Henry did not disclose the name or location of the restaurant.

“This situation is similar to what we’ve seen in other places where somebody doesn’t recognize that they have symptoms, milder symptoms, and they may not have the appropriate spacing or barriers in place in the workplace and there was transmission between four or five of the staff in that facility,” she said.

Public health inspectors and environmental health officers did a full review of the facility and its safety plan.

Henry said workplace transmission is a key concern for health officials, noting there have been outbreaks at poultry plants and fruit-processing plants.

Restaurants have been allowed to operate during Phase 2 of B.C.’s plan to reopen the economy provided they follow provincial guidelines.

“If we catch it early, we can contain it very quickly,” Henry said.

“This is a wake-up call to remind people that we need to look at these situations and we can become complacent with our workmates and we need to be careful about that as well.”