Fact Finders: Do businesses, restaurants have to share COVID-19 cases with you?

Fact Finders: Do businesses, restaurants have to share COVID-19 cases with you?
Fact Finders

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) -

KOLD News 13 has received many emails and phone calls from viewers sharing rumors of positive cases at certain businesses, restaurants or their place of employment. Many asked why those establishments aren’t sharing the cases with the public.

Well, they don’t have to.

Businesses, restaurants and other establishments do not have to report a positive COVID-19 case to the public. According to the Pima County Health Department, if a public health investigation, or contact tracing, indicates there is a case at an establishment, the department will reach out to that business to take the appropriate actions to protect the staff and public.

Some restaurants and businesses in Southern Arizona have decided to share cases among staff, especially if it is the reason for closing their doors. Those owners have to follow privacy laws in releasing information.

Businesses, restaurants and other establishments do not have to shut down if there is a confirmed COVID-19 case among staff. The health department said business owners should review and understand the guidance set forth by the CDC for employers.

Employers DO need to inform other employees if they have been exposed to COVID-19.

Jessica Post, Director of Employment and Labor at Fennemore Craig said the CDC provides that an employer who has an employee come down with COVID-19 needs to “[i]nform employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the ADA.”  

In an email, Post wrote:

“I recommend that employers are reasonable in informing employees.  For example, if they have two locations, they would only inform employees at one location of the possible exposure.  An employer would then separately work to determine who had “close contact” (defined as being within six feet of somebody with COVID-19 for ten minutes) and, if possible, have those employees quarantined, get tested, etc.

The Pima County Health Department does not release information about businesses due to state restrictions on information sharing during a public health investigation. 

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