Whitstable Birdies restaurant closes after staff member tests positive for Covid-19

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A popular French restaurant had to close after a member of staff tested positive for Covid-19.

Birdies, in Whitstable, closed for 10 days after the positive case.

Birdies Restaurant in Harbor Street, Whitstable. Image: Google Street View

The longtime Harbor Street restaurant broke the news in a post on its Facebook page this afternoon.

He added: “We apologize for any inconvenience. We will be back as soon as possible!”

The shutdown comes as some pub and restaurant bosses have described the ongoing Covid isolation rules the industry is facing as ‘bonkers’.

Social distancing rules are set to end on July 19 – also known as ‘freedom day’ – which will see nightclubs allowed to fully reopen and the one-meter rule and table service requirement. in abandoned pubs.

The finger of the bishop in Canterbury.  Photo: Tony Flashman
The finger of the bishop in Canterbury. Photo: Tony Flashman

But regulations continue to require that all employee contacts of a colleague who tests positive must also self-isolate – that they have been doubly trapped and tested negative.

This means that businesses that are still struggling to get back on their feet now have to send staff home, which has already forced the closure of five Shepherd Neame pubs.

They currently include the Bishop’s Finger in Canterbury, with the Duke of Cumberland in Whitstable and the Alma in Painters Forstal which has just reopened after staff isolation.

The owner of Canterbury’s biggest nightclubs – Club Chemistry and Toyko Tea Rooms – says it’s a “massive relief” to finally be fully open with no restrictions.

And already, tickets for events at both sites have been sold.

Louise Jones-Roberts.  Photo: Tony Flashman
Louise Jones-Roberts. Photo: Tony Flashman

But boss Louise Jones-Roberts said the company had to put in place special measures to avoid falling under the isolation rules.

“They are madness and I cannot see the logic in them,” she said.

“This has happened to us once before and we had to shut down, so we put strict measures in place to minimize any contact between staff.

“To be honest, I just think ‘so be it’ and we’re just happy to have some certainty about the future, which we desperately need.”

Another pub boss, who did not want to be named, also spoke out after just one member of his staff tested positive for Covid this week and had to self-isolate.

Under current rules, 65% of its other staff had to self-isolate for 10 days, even after testing negative.

“This is absolutely nuts and it will frankly threaten to shut a lot of us into hospitality,” he said.

Partygoers at Toyko Tea Rooms in Canterbury, pictured before the pandemic
Partygoers at the Toyko Tea Rooms in Canterbury, pictured before the pandemic

“It’s just like another kick in the teeth when the trade tries to get back on its feet and bent over backwards to meet any demands and challenges. “

The ongoing setback for businesses comes as Covid cases continue to skyrocket in the district – up 183.3% from the previous week – but those under 30 now account for nearly 90% of new infections.

The striking statistics were prompted by an outbreak on the University of Kent campus, with cases doubling to 125 students last week through Monday.

Twenty-six other people living in their own homes also contracted the disease, along with two staff members.

The numbers – which bring the uni’s total number of cases to 726 – are more than twice as large as its next largest seven-day figure, which was recorded last week.

A spokesperson for the university said: “As a precaution, we immediately canceled all non-essential student activities on campus and advised all students who were able to (i.e. after producing a negative test) to leave their accommodation on campus and return home. as soon as possible.

“The health and well-being of all of our students, staff and visitors to our campus is our number one priority at all times. “

Read more: All the latest news from Whitstable

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