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Coronavirus

Businesses not required to shut down if employee tests positive for COVID-19

Closed sign on Shiloh
ABC 17 News
A sign shows Shiloh restaurant and bar in downtown Columbia is closed Friday, July 3, 2020.

COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)

Businesses are not breaking the rules when they continue operating after an employee or customer tests positive for COVID-19.

Those rules don't require public disclosure of those cases, either.

Businesses should be prepared for the possibility workers or customers testing positive for COVID-19, public health authorities say.

The Columbia/Boone County Department of Public Health and Human Services website explains how businesses do not have to shut down if they see a positive case. When an employee tests positive only close contacts need to be notified.

"A close contact is currently defined as a person who has spent 15 collective minutes within 6 feet of the person who has tested positive for the virus," the website says.

The public will only be notified about an employee testing positive if risk of exposure is high and close contacts cannot be traced. This usually occurs when people are not socially distancing and the person with COVID-19 cannot identify all the people they were in close contact with, according to the health department.

The Moniteau County Health Department, in a post on its Facebook page Monday, said all close contacts must quarantine for 14 days, even if they have not tested positive. Close contacts can become infectious at any time during the incubation period.

Businesses are not required to shut down if an employee tests positive, but if most of the staff is considered to be in close contact with an infected worker, the businesses may have to shut down for the 14 day quarantine period because of a staff shortage.

"When a business has an employee test positive for the virus, PHHS may contact the business to discuss and educate on appropriate cleaning and disinfection guidelines," the Columbia/Boone County health department's website said.

Businesses are not required to notify the public if they have a customer or employee test positive for the virus. However, several local businesses have made the decision to disclose cases among customers and staff during the pandemic.

Check back for updates to this developing story or watch ABC 17 News at 5 and 6.

Boone / Columbia / Health / Mid-Missouri Business / Moniteau / News / Top Stories

Zola Crowder

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