- Fifteen workers from two Chick-fil-A restaurants in Southeast Texas, tested positive for coronavirus, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram.
- The two restaurants are temporarily closed and over 100 employees have been tested for the virus and are under quarantine.
- Chick-fil-A has had employees test positive for COVID-19 in a handful of restaurants across the country over the last few weeks, including single cases in St. Louis County, Missouri; Ohio County, West Virginia; Atlanta; Shelby County, Alabama and a March case in Waco, Texas.
The outbreak at two Texas restaurants appears to be the largest spread at the chicken chain so far, illustrating how contagious this disease can be even when precautions are put in place. Employees at other chains, like McDonald’s and Starbucks, have contracted the virus in recent weeks as well. McDonald’s workers in Chicago have filed a complaint arguing that managers aren’t doing enough to protect workers. Starbucks' employees pushed the chain to close during the pandemic in mid-March.
Chick-fil-A has yet to see significant pushback from its employees. The chain installed handwashing stations by April 11 near drive-thru lanes and in mall/in-line curbside locations and urged employees to wash their hands every 30 minutes. It also began providing face coverings and masks to employees in April. Some restaurants have switched to cashless payments to minimize exposures. With these safety precautions in place, employees that contract the virus while on the job could file workers compensation claims, but if these cases continue, it could very well experience the same pushback as McDonald's.
While Chick-fil-A was one of the first chains to switch to off-premise only operations in mid-March as well, it isn’t likely to be one of the first chains to reopen dining rooms where allowed.
“As some states begin to ease restrictions on the closure of local businesses, we are going to take additional time to review our operations and ensure we have necessary precautions in place to protect our Guests and Team Members before we reopen our dining rooms,” the company said on its website on April 23.
And with employees contracting COVID-19, this slow and steady reopening strategy will work in its favor.