South Bay's Aqui Closes Outdoor Dining Service After Employee Tests Positive For COVID-19

They have had two employees test positive since January

June 27, 2020

Aqui Cal-Mex


On Friday popular south bay restaurant chain Aqui Cal-Mex announced that they were shutting down their oudoor dining service due to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases. They had been offering outdoor dining since Santa Clara County began allowing it again on June 5th.

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In a follow-up post they announced that in the last 30 days two of their employees have tested positive for COVID-19. One is recovered and waiting to return to work & the other is resting comfortably at home in recovery.

Aqui currently has three hundred and fifty employees. Since January 1st we have experienced two positive CoVid-19 notifications from employees. Both of those notifications occurred in the last thirty days, post the relaxation of the shelter in place directive. For the protection and privacy of our employees and due to HIPPA privacy guidelines we cannot give any details or release any information to the public about employee’s personal health. At present, one has been cleared and awaiting a return to work and the other is resting comfortably at home in recovery. All employees were notified immediately of the situation and were recommended to get tested. Since the beginning of this pandemic we have implemented a rigorous cleaning and disinfecting program. We require all employees to wear face masks and nitrile gloves while working, we sanitize workstations after use, and we require hand washing every 15 minutes. Employees showing any of the listed symptoms for CoVid-19 will not be allowed to work. We have all seen the resurgence of Covid-19 cases due to re-opening of businesses. Unfortunately, we will probably see more cases within our community and environment. We will continue to follow SCCHD and CDC protocols. Aqui has been serving the South Bay community for over 26 years. Since January, keeping our restaurants open to pay our team has been a monumental challenge. So much has changed in a short period of time – the world around us, our neighborhoods, gathering spaces, the places we work and call home. Life in the midst of COVID-19 has sparked fear, frustration and anxiety all around. It is easy for distractions, criticism and stress to creep in. Social media can propagate emotionally driven information that can snowball into an uncontrollable false narrative. We are trying to look at all aspect of this pandemic; to learn and rethink our approaches. But now, more than ever, we must focus all of our energy on defeating this pandemic and the challenges associated with it. Nothing is more important than ensuring the health and safety of our employees and the community. It is our sincerest hope that you continue to trust and support Aqui.

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The Mercury News reported that most recent case came from an employee at the Downtown Campbell location who reported that they had tested positive this past Wednesday. The restaurant closed for two hours that day to thoroughly sanitize it before reopening.

Aqui owner Dave O'Mara said he didn't share the information immediately because the restaurant was looking at ways to do so in a legal and appropriate manner. O'Mara also told the Mercury News that it has been tough to get customers to follow safety protocols since they reopened for outdoor dining service, but the restaurants have gone above & beyond with sanitation measures.

Aqui remains open for take-out including offering their industrial strength Swirls to go.