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Duke's Chowder House on Alki Beach closed due to staff coronavirus outbreak

Duke's says it followed CDC and local health guidelines after employees reported exposure. But county health officials say social distancing measures were inadequate

SEATTLE — On Wednesday, Public Health – Seattle & King County closed Duke’s Chowder House on Alki Beach due to an "ongoing outbreak" of COVID-19 among employees, the agency said.

There are no known cases among restaurant customers, health officials said. However, customers of Duke’s at Alki were advised to watch closely for any symptoms daily until 14 days after the restaurant visit.

The agency also said factors in the closure included the potential for workplace and employee transmission, and for non-compliance with Washington’s Safe Start Plan. According to the agency, the restaurant did not promote customer distancing.

In a statement, Duke's said it has been strictly following CDC and local health department guidelines and that employees who reported being exposed to coronavirus did not work on-site after exposure.

"In addition, we evaluated each situation, informed all company team members, alerted the health department, and notified our guests through a variety of channels," the company said in a statement. "In each case, we closed the three impacted restaurants for cleaning and sanitation and to allow time for team members to be tested."

The company said that the employees affected included one in Bellevue, two in Tacoma and seven in Alki. The Alki Beach location is the only one that is currently closed.

"The health and safety of our team members and guests is, and always has been, our top priority, which is why we are deeply saddened by these cases," the company said in a statement. 

Health officials encouraged customers with symptoms to follow up with their medical provider, or, if they do not have a medical provider, to call the King County COVID-19 Call Center at 206-477-3977 to find out more about free testing.

Symptoms of COVID-19 infection include fever, cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or a change in smell or taste perception. Other symptoms include recent or increasing tiredness or weakness, headache, muscle aches, diarrhea, chills, and sore throat. These symptoms occur within 2 to 14 days of a person's last exposure to someone diagnosed with COVID-19. 

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