CALEDONIA TWP. — The Arby’s restaurant on East M-21 has been closed since the discovery that one employee tested positive for COVID-19, a company spokesman said today.

“Last week, one employee tested positive,” Inspire Brands brand reputation manager Jack D’Amato said today. “Out of an abundance of caution, the Owosso location shut down.”

D’Amato said all employees were tested and several are self-isolating. There were no further positive tests as of Thursday.

Shiawassee County Health Director Larry Johnson said the positive test came June 26 and the worker is self-isolating. He said since the restaurant was only open for drive-thru prior to that date, the risk was mostly limited to staff rather than customers.

However, he said, people who purchased food at the restaurant prior to June 26 who are worried or exhibiting symptoms should get tested. Anyone with questions is encouraged to call the health department at (989) 743-2356.

"It's a tough situation," he said. "We're identifying any contacts the worker had. They weren't open, except for drive-thru so that's a good thing."

Johnson said the employee case is not related to the Harper's Brewpub outbreak in East Lansing. That outbreak resulted in two confirmed COVID-19 cases in Shiawassee County.

Johnson noted the Arby's restaurant closed voluntarily to clean and disinfect.

D’Amato said the company is working with Shiawassee County Health Department staff, but there is not a firm timeline for reopening the restaurant.

“The health department says we are compliant with all guidelines,” D’Amato said. He added that if the health department and company are comfortable, the restaurant could potentially reopen to drive-thru service Friday.

Shiawassee County health officials Wednesday, in their weekly update, said the county’s total coronavirus number stands at 251 with 217 considered recovered. Officials announced one new fatality, a man in his 90s, raising that total to 27.

Inspire Brands formerly was known as the Arby’s Restaurant Group; it owns Arby’s, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sonic, Jimmy John’s and Rusty Taco chains and is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.