Tina Harle

Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea, 702 Lake St, closed Friday, Aug. 29 after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. While temporarily closed the café will be thoroughly sanitized.

Fairgrounds coffee issued the following statement:

“It has come to light that a Fairgrounds employee at our Oak Park location has tested positive for COVID-19. The employee has not been in our café this week, did not exhibit symptoms and is fortunately feeling fine. Out of an abundance of caution, we have shut down the café effective immediately to ensure the safety of our team and all guests.”

The employee realized they had been exposed after a roommate tested positive for COVID-19 and sought out a test despite being asymptomatic. The employee had not been in the coffee shop for six days when Fairgrounds was notified of the positive test.

According to Jordan Aluise Hinke, vice president of marketing and communications at Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea Merchants, the positive test prompted an immediate internal discussion with all staff members. All Oak Park staff members were required to get tested for COVID-19 and Fairgrounds offered financial support to those who may not be able to afford a test.

All employee test results received to date have been negative.

“The best news is the employee who tested positive is just fine,” said Aluise Hinke. “This has been a successful and effective response.”

Fairgrounds has implemented strict COVID protocols in all their locations including temperature checks, frequent sanitizing of all surfaces, and use of plexiglass partitions. Signage and floor markers encourage proper social distancing and the café does not accept cash to limit contact between customers and team members.

“Transparency is key no matter what.” said Aluise Hinke “We have abided by very strict measures at Fairgrounds and because of that we were able to prevent the spread.”

Fairgrounds committed to pay employees through the duration of the closure and the Oak Park location is scheduled to reopen on Friday, Sept. 4.

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