While the city of Gloucester is not closing down any restaurants or businesses due to the uptick in coronavirus cases this past week, some are taking it upon themselves to pause business as usual. 

"Many of our local restaurants and businesses have proactively closed to sanitize and to get their employees tested to help stop the spread in our community," Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken posted Wednesday afternoon on Facebook. "I thank and applaud them for their efforts and decision."

As of Thursday noon, the number of active COVID-19 cases in Gloucester had increased to 44. City officials said the outbreak stemmed from a large gathering or social event and there were a handful of isolated cases within the city's schools. 

Romeo Theken declined to comment on where the cluster occurred, but did say that the Board of Health has been in communication with those involved and contact tracing is being to done to identify where the virus could spread.

Romeo Theken confirmed that there will be three days of free testing next week, although the details of when and where are being ironed out. 

The Azorean Restaurant on Washington Street, Seaport Grille at 6 Rowe Square, 1606 Restaurant in the Beauport Hotel on Commmercial Street, and Cape Ann Brewing Company/The Pub at Cape Ann Brewing on Rogers Street are four local businesses that announced they have had to temporarily close due to a positive case of COVID-19 among their communities. 

"Please note, the affected associate has not had contact with any guests during work," Seaport Grille announced on its Facebook on Oct. 13. "Seaport Grille has facilitated the testing of employees to retrieve negative results for all in returning safely and comfortably to work when we reopen."

Seaport Grille and 1606 Restaurant, both part of the Glooucester-based Beauport Hospitality Group, affirmed in their announcements that the infected individual did not have contact with any guests and their management team is facilitating the testing of all of their employees. 

With the ambiguity of where the spread originated, the mayor shifted tones to call out the community to first and foremost be kind to one another. 

"We are all in this together and we need to be kind to one another," she urged. "I’m disappointed in all the gossip and rumors and finger pointing and condescending comments.  COVID is a virus that anyone, anyone, can get. This uptick in cases is a harsh reminder of how quickly this virus can spread."

Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-675-2705 or tbradford@gloucestertimes.com.

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