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Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille in Tallahassee closes after former employee warns public of COVID-19 mishandling

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille near the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee announced Friday it will close its doors after several team members tested positive for COVID-19.

The announcement came, however, only hours after a former employee took to social media to warn the public that the restaurant is “not providing crucial public health information to potential customers.”

The former employee, Lauren Herod, accused the seafood joint of “running business as usual” despite six employees testing positive for COVID-19 on Tuesday.

Herod detailed that only front of house employees who worked with the first sick worker were required to get tested before returning to work. Those working in the back of the house, however, were not required to be tested.

She also said that management took no additional sanitation measures in the restaurant.

“When it comes down to it, our staff is scared and our staff is angry,” Herod said in a Facebook post. “Angry that management, despite the current world climate, is choosing the financial stability of the company over the health and safety of the employees.”

Harry’s Seafood Bar & Grille made no mention of Herod’s allegations in their Facebook announcement. But the restaurant said additional measures including contact tracing have been completed.

“We have a comprehensive sanitation and safety plan in place that meets and exceeds CDC guidelines,” the restaurant said on Facebook. “Despite all the additional measures and precautions, we must take a step back to ensure the continued safety of our employees and guests.”

Herod expressed that the post was not published with ill intent, but rather out of an abundance of care for the elderly including some of her loved ones.

“I just know that if my grandmother or elderly aunt lived in Tallahassee, I would want to know who was taking the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety,” Herod wrote.

Herod added that the employees, many of whom are college students, were afraid to approach management about the issue.

“With a staff made up of almost entirely college students, we depend on the money from our jobs to pay our bills,” Herod wrote. “The thing is we aren’t willing to sacrifice our health because of it. Because of fear of retaliation by management, we are hoping that this can be an effective way to communicate our issues.”

The restaurant, which has a four star rating on Yelp and rests less than a mile from Florida State University, said it will reopen as soon as it is safe to do so.

Written By

Jason Delgado covers news out of the state capitol for Florida Politics. After his time with the U.S. Army, Jason attended the University of Central Florida where he studies Political Science & American Policy. His past bylines include WMFE-NPR and POLITICO Florida. You can reach Jason at jason@floridapolitics.com or on Twitter at @JasonDelgadoFL.

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