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Businesses in Austin aren't required to close, inform customers if employee tests positive for COVID-19, City says

KVUE spoke with the City of Austin to answer some of the most common questions we've received.

AUSTIN, Texas — As the number of COVID-19 cases in Austin and Travis County continues to rise, questions from KVUE viewers about what businesses are and aren't supposed to report have become quite common.

We spoke with the City of Austin to get answers to the most popular questions.

Are businesses, including restaurants, required to close if an employee tests positive for COVID-19? 

COAThe city and state orders do not require a business to close if an employee tests positive for COVID-19. However, the facility should clean and disinfect the facility in accordance with CDC guidelines for facilities with a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19.  

Are businesses required to tell customers someone has tested positive inside of their establishment

COAThe city and state orders do not require a business to tell customers if someone in the establishment has tested positive.

Can businesses, including restaurants, face any fines for failing to inform people about an outbreak (meaning two or more cases) inside of their establishment?

COANo. This is not required by the city or state order.

If a customer asks a business or a restaurant if an employee has tested positive, are they required to tell the customer?

COA: No. This is not required by the city or state order.

RELATED: Mayor Adler speaks as Austin businesses begin enforcing face coverings

Are employees required to tell their bosses that they've tested positive for COVID-19?

COAWe would strongly encourage any employee who tests positive for COVID-19 to report it to their supervisor to help prevent its spread. Employees should follow the reporting policies established by their employer. The governor’s health protocols require that employers send home any employee that has "known close contact with a person who is lab-confirmed to have COVID-19." Employees are required to provide truthful answers to an employer’s screening questions if asked. Individuals that have tested positive are required under the city order to isolate until their household has been cleared by Austin Public Health or to seek medical attention.

Do businesses, including restaurants, in Austin/Travis County have to track down customers who came in contact with an infected person?  

COANo, city and state orders do not require a business to track down customers who came in contact with an infected person. To assist in both the statewide and local contact-tracing programs, all restaurants allowing dine-in services and all reopened services with an allowed occupancy of 75 or less are encouraged to maintain an activity log of, as reasonably possible, the contact information for all inside and sit-down customers and employees, including the dates and times they were present in the business and the location where they sat or were served. To protect the privacy of customers, the logs shall be maintained only for a one-month period and shall be the property of the business, not the city. The log may be used only by public health authorities if needed for contact tracing. The logs shall not be part of a database and shall not be used for law enforcement purposes.

Credit: KVUE
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If you have any questions about the COVID-19 pandemic, you can always text us at 512-459-9442, and we'll try our best to answer them.

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