DPH: no requirement for business to close or tell public COVID cases

ByJake Wallace|June 24, 2020 at 10:51 PM EDT - Updated June 24 at 11:27 PM

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Just about everyone’s talking about businesses that have had employees test positive for the coronavirus.

A number of area businesses have recently shut down temporarily because of that or even after a customer tested positive, but those cases as rare and they are not required to close.

Dr. Lawton Davis of the Coastal Health District says he’s not surprised that a number of area businesses have recently reported positive cases of coronavirus.

“There is not a major business entity in Chatham County and probably not up and down the I-95 corridor that has not had someone that has COVID-19 enter that facility, shop there, buy things there, or work there.”

He says that statement isn’t meant to scare people, but to help them make decisions about their activity in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.

“That’s why we ask them to wear face coverings, to protect them from the asymptomatic carrier who doesn’t know he or she has it.”

Dr. Davis says when a business contacts the health department about a positive test, they work together to determine the next steps in cleaning and who needs to quarantine. That can vary based on if an employee had contact with patrons and if they have any symptoms.

Those who test positive can’t go to work, but those in close contact may if they wear a mask and remain asymptomatic.

But as far as staying open or notifying the public of a positive case, that’s up to the business.

“There really is no requirement that that business notify the public that either an employee or a patron has tested positive.”

While the decision to stay open is up to the business, Davis says the decision to go to that business or not is up to each individual.

He says the best advice he can give is very simple.

“You just need to assume that anywhere you go, you’re going to be going into a place where somebody has been just before you get there or somebody in there with you actually has the virus.”

Dr. Davis says he commends businesses that are shutting down, calling them good community partners for going above what is required.

Photo: Getty Images

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