Little Italy’s Nolita Hall is the first San Diego restaurant to officially disclose that a member of its staff has tested positive for COVID-19. Owner Douglas Hamm posted a message on its social media channels today to share the unfortunate news and announce that the well-regarded India Street bar and restaurant, which opened in 2018, will be temporarily shuttered until June 30. It had reopened for dine-in business on May 29, but stopped service on Sunday, June 14.
Hamm told Eater that he made the decision to share the information with complete transparency, choosing to publicize the case in hopes that it will continue to help build trust with his staff and guests. He said the restaurant had been operating with an abundance of caution, implementing stringent sanitary and safety protocols that included reducing seating capacity, requiring face masks, and installing plexiglass partitions. The 6,000-square-foot space has high ceilings and glass wall panels that open up the dining area to the outdoors.
He says that any employees that spent more than 10 minutes closer than six feet to the person who tested positive will be self-quarantining for 14 days and the restaurant will be paying for all employees to be tested before returning to work. At a county briefing on Friday, June 12, public health office Dr. Wilman Wooten reported that an outbreak had been linked to a local restaurant, but Hamm tells Eater that she was not referring to Nolita Hall as their positive test occurred after June 12 and they only have one case.
UPDATE 6/18/20: At today’s news conference, county officials shared that there were two community outbreaks related to restaurants on June 11 and June 16. Community outbreaks are defined as at least three COVID-19 cases from people in different households who were together in a single location. They would not share the names of the local restaurants linked to the outbreaks.