Lacey Chick-fil-A temporarily closes due to COVID-19

Olivia Alvord, Staff Writer

On Sept. 17, Thurston County received a long sought out Chick-fil-A franchise location in Lacey, Wash. This was the first of its locations in southwest Washington and an addition to the prior list of just three locations statewide: Bellevue, Tacoma, and Lakewood. Opening day for the fast-food restaurant was filled with long lines, three or more hour waits in the drive-thru, and a police presence. Thurston County residents could not get enough of the highly popular chain.

On Oct. 2nd, less than a month after its grand-opening, the Lacey location temporarily closed due to an employee testing positive for COVID-19. Just a few days after the temporary closure announcement, multiple employees learned of their COVID-19 contraction. The situation was then deemed an outbreak. 

The franchise had taken it into their own hands to temporarily close the location out of precaution. According to a written statement released by the corporation, “Our highest priority is the health and well-being of our Team Members and guests. After learning that team members at the Chick-fil-A on Marvin Road and Quinault were diagnosed with COVID-19, the restaurant proactively temporarily closed and took precautionary measures, including disinfecting and deep cleaning the restaurant. Safe service is our top priority and our restaurants continue to follow CDC and local health department guidelines.” 

The outbreak supposedly only affected the workers and their families, and the public was not known to be at risk. Therefore, the Thurston County Health Department chose not to release the information to the public, nor did they find it necessary to put forth any contact-tracing efforts. The Thurston County Public Health director did not comment on the current outbreak but instead told King 5 news, “Due to the low transmission rate at fast food restaurant establishments, we do not inform the public about health concerns at a private business unless there is a risk to the public.” The director also highlighted that guests should be safe if they took the proper safety precautions of wearing a mask and maintaining 6-feet distance.”

Investigators found no evidence that the public was at risk and determined Chick-fil-A customers safe. The establishment remained closed for a 14-day period to conduct the proper sanitation procedures, and there were no other news or social media posts during this time.

The Lacey location posted on their Facebook page informing their customers that they would reopen Oct. 16th with normal operation hours. They also noted that the drive thru would be open and that they were currently not accepting mobile curbside or DoorDash orders at that time. The location has since seen booming business as customers continue to rally for this southern-style fast food establishment.

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