The Coug closed indefinitely after a customer tested positive for the virus.
The Coug closed early today & will remain closed several days. We have been notified that a customer we served last week has tested positive for COVID19. For the safety of our staff & customers, we will remain closed until we can ensure our staff members are free of infection. 1/ pic.twitter.com/8rZOJebkoj
— The Coug (@TheCoug_) June 26, 2020
Lance Lijewski, social media manager of The Coug, said the business shut down operations immediately and are taking measures behind the scenes to ensure employees did not contract the virus.
The business does not anticipate opening until they feel comfortable in the safety of the bar and restaurant, he said.
“We decided to act quickly for the safety and health of our staff and customers,” Lijewski said.
Policy at the business will not change, he said. This includes mandatory masks and sign-in sheets meant for direct contact tracing.
Troy Henderson, director of Whitman County Public Health, said he is glad to see a business like The Coug being “proactive” and preventing further cases by closing.
As the U.S. experiences a surge in cases, Henderson said residents should be aware that everyone needs more personal space than they did four months ago.
“It’s prudent for individuals to maintain as much distance as they can,” Henderson said.
He said residents should remember to wear masks in public spaces, especially in businesses.
Whitman County continues to face an uptick in coronavirus cases, with a recorded 36 positive cases as of June 26. There have been eight positive cases in the last 11 days.
“We know we’re not going to be the last [business to have a case],” Lijewski said.
Henderson said he has not seen evidence that the protests in Pullman, or those nationally, have contributed to the surge in positive cases. Other reasons for the new cases could be “COVID fatigue,” he said, or the fact that many people are ready to socialize and support businesses.
Officials at the Public Health Department are anticipating even more positive cases as students and employees return to Pullman for fall, Henderson said.