Restaurant reopens after earning praise for response to employee’s virus case

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — Cesarina, a Point Loma Italian restaurant, earned plaudits online for its transparency when it was forced to close due to an employee’s coronavirus case earlier this month.

Now ownership says their staff has been tested, their restaurant has been deep-cleaned, and their doors are back open, while the employee remains in self-quarantine without suffering any symptoms.

A dish at Cesarina, an Italian restaurant in Point Loma that earned praise for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. (Photo: Cesarina)

The restaurant first closed shop July 1 after the employee got tested and learned he was positive for COVID-19. Cesarina shared the news in a multi-part Facebook post, letting fans know what had happened, when the employee last worked and other information.

That earned them praise in the comments, which were filled with people who said they appreciated the restaurant’s quick, open response.

“Thank you for being a model of transparency and genuine care for your staff and customers,” one fan wrote. “Seeing how much you care about the health of your employees and your customers makes me even more sure that I’ll be stopping in at Cesarina again soon for a meal,” another said.

Guests will get their chance to do that, as the restaurant reopened last weekend — for outdoor dining and takeout orders only, in accordance with renewed COVID-19 restrictions.

“Famiglia, we are back,” a new post declared Friday. “We are happy to report that after submitting all Cesarina employees to COVID-19 rapid testing, every one of our test results came back negative.

“Furthermore, the employee who contracted the virus outside of the confines of our restaurant, after coming into close contact with a COVID-positive individual, is doing well and appears to be asymptomatic as he continues his self-quarantine.”

A restaurant spokesperson confirmed that ownership helps any employee who has to miss work due to COVID-19 with applying for financial assistance through the state, if desired.

They also told FOX 5 that the restaurant recently expanded its patio seating, and that guests can get takeout information or make reservations on their website.

The restaurant’s owners said they’re grateful to have the restaurant back open and employees back at work, in an industry that often operates on razor-thin margins and has been economically ravaged by the coronavirus pandemic and accompanying closures.

In the early months of the pandemic, before any on-site dining was permitted, the restaurant pledged 100% of its profits to its staff, in addition to hourly wages. When limited on-site dining was allowed to resume, Cesarina donated about $8,000 via bonuses for its employees, a spokesperson said. The restaurant was able to retain all of its staff.

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