Rotorua eateries visited by Covid family

The Fat Dog cafe in Arawa St. Photo: Facebook
The Fat Dog cafe in Arawa St. Photo: Facebook
Rotorua's Fat Dog cafe has been praised for being open and honest about being visited by a family with Covid-19 at the weekend.

Lakes District Health Board has released further information about where two people who tested positive for Covid-19 visited while in Rotorua, including the Fat Dog cafe on Sunday, August 9, between 1.30pm and 2.30pm and Burger Fuel Redwoods on August 10 between 7pm and 8pm.

Fat Dog alerted their customers to the incident via Facebook and the feedback in the comments had been overwhelmingly positive.

Owner Chris Powell said honesty was the best policy in this situation.

"To be honest, we kind of expected it. Fat Dog has been around a long time and we like to think we have at least one meal occasion when people come to Rotorua, so you know there's a good chance they came through.

"I think [customers] love the fact that we're being completely up front about it. As soon as we found out, we went public with the information and I think people really appreciate that honesty," he said.

Powell said the cafe, like many other hospitality businesses, had been following strict hygiene practices since lockdown which made it well placed to deal with an incident like this.

"It's about going through the process and I think every hospitality business in New Zealand has pretty strict cleaning processes anyway so as far as the deep clean goes, we're doing that every day.

"We put the bubble seating in early on in the piece, when we went through level three and two originally, so we had pretty good social distancing on Sunday, when the customers in question came in."

"The staff [ who were working on Sunday] understand, they're all self-isolating and getting tested. We have a large team so we've swapped the teams out and got a different team on today. It will be interesting to see how customers react.

"We've had ex-staff come back and support us and one has come back on board to help us get through while we have staff off."

BurgerFuel addressed the issue on their website last night.

"On Wednesday evening at 7pm, we were notified that our BurgerFuel Redwoods Rotorua store was visited by the Auckland family who recently tested positive for Covid-19.

"The franchisee was advised by the deputy health protection officer from the Bay of Plenty DHB that the visit had occurred on Monday August 10th, between 7pm to 8pm.

"We are awaiting further details from the Ministry of Health, but can confirm that, upon receiving this information, the store was immediately closed and a detailed deep clean undertaken."

All five staff members who worked the Monday shift have been isolated and are undergoing testing for Covid-19," the statement said.

"No other staff members have been in contact with those on shift and we can confirm that staff from the Fairy Springs store do not work at the Redwoods store.

"We anticipate that the BurgerFuel Redwoods store will re-open tomorrow (Thursday), exceptionally clean and with a fresh crew of staff. We will continue to keep you updated."

Yesterday, director general of health Dr Ashley Bloomfield said two of the new Covid cases from Auckland travelled to Rotorua while showing symptoms of the virus. Bloomfield said the family were in Rotorua from August 8 to 11.

The family stayed at the Wai Ora Lakeside Hotel from August 8 to 11 and visited the Skyline Gondola on August 9 from 4pm to 6pm.

They also visited the Heritage Farm and 3D Gallery on August 10 between 3pm and 4pm.

Anyone who scanned in with the app in those times will be alerted. There are other locations yet to be advised, a post from the Lakes District Health Board said this morning.

Their trip to Rotorua had not resulted in anyone in the region being classified as a close contact, Bloomfield said.

However, he urged Rotorua residents to remain alert to symptoms of Covid-19 until further information is released about where the family visited.

A pop-up test site opens today at the Rotorua International Stadium. It is open from 9am to 4pm from Today to Sunday.

The Vaughan Rd and Miro St, Taupō testing centres will stay open 9am to 4pm seven days a week.


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