Restaurant owners worried over new contact tracing requirements | KOB 4

Restaurant owners worried over new contact tracing requirements

Patrick Hayes
Created: May 20, 2020 06:28 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — If and when restaurants reopen their dining rooms, customers may have to share their contact info.

"First and foremost – our civil liberties, our constitutional rights, to be forced into doing these things,” said Derek Young, owner of Brickyard Pizza.

Young has had a front row seat to some of the economic problems caused by the coronavirus outbreak. But now he has concerns about reopening.

New state rules for restaurants say, “to support contact tracing, (restaurants need to) retain a daily log for at least four weeks including the date, name, and phone number or email address of all customers and employees who enter the establishment.”

"I already had temperature logs before any of this was sent out to monitor my employees to make sure I was doing the best COVID safety practices possible. But the fact that somehow restaurants are the only business, retail business, required to participate in contact tracing is really disturbing,” he said.

Matt DiGregory, owner of the Range Café said he can live with the changes.

"Our recommendation was initially that we didn't do it and then when the order came down it was included on that, which surprised us a little bit because it wasn't part of our discussion really. That being said, I think it's a good idea. I think it implementing it is going to be very difficult and hard to pull off on a consistent basis, and I think a lot of people are going to be against,” he said.

Both Brickyard and the Range Café said they’re ready to reopen their dining rooms. They said they have taken all the necessary precautions but are waiting on the go-ahead from the governor.

Both owners said asking customers for extra information could hurt them in the short term.

"I think it'll be extremely negative. Why when a person can cook, stay home, order in, are they going to go out and subject themselves to being traced in order to go into some kind of government database maybe that's going to gather information that possibly might help us with COVID and its issues,” Young said.

"I think it all depends on how we present it. If we present it as this is a demand, you must do it, they're going to fight back, but if we present it as an optional thing—we encourage you to do it, this is the reason we encourage you to do it, and we're not going to use the information for anything unless there's a problem,” DiGregory said.

State officials said they would look at reopening dining rooms to customers as early as June, but no official decision has been announced.

To view the COVID-19 safe practices handbook for individuals and employers, click here.


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