UPDATE: Employee tests negative for COVID-19, Camden Sea Dog to re-open June 3

Mon, 06/01/2020 - 1:00pm

    CAMDEN — “Good news!” said Charles Melino, general manager at the Camden Sea Dog Brewing, Co. “Tests came back negative.”

    That means the restaurant will re-open Wednesday, June 3, and employees will be back at work.

    The downtown Sea Dog Brewing, Co., which is a popular restaurant in a key Camden location, has closed its premises until test results are known and sanitation is complete. That’s that word according to a May 29 Facebook post by the business. 

    “Until we get test results, there is no reason to put others at risk at all,” said General Manager Charles Melino, speaking over the phone May 31. “We did have a staff member exposed to the virus.”

    Melino learned that an employee, who works in the kitchen, had been exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 carrier. That staff member had apparently learned himself after getting a call from a tracer. Tracers work with the Maine Center for Disease Control to “identify, investigate, and isolate individuals with COVID-19 to prevent its spread in the absence of effective treatment or a vaccine.”

    The contact had been made in a social setting, Melino said.

    “Though our staff member is asymptomatic at this time, we have chosen to exercise an abundance of caution and close the facility until necessary staff testing and sanitation of the facility is completed,” said the restaurant, in its Facebook post. “We will remain closed until results are received and assured it is safe to reopen. This person was not in direct contact with guests.”

    The Sea Dog in Camden is part of a chain of Sea Dog brewpubs with locations in Florida, New Hampshire, and Maine. The Camden restaurant was just revving its engines and looking forward to a stronger summer season than this past winter and spring, with the state’s pandemic shut-down. It had recently re-opened May 22.

    “Everyone was happy to be back at work,” said Melino. “It is a shame it happened. That’s unfortunately the world we live in at the moment.”

    But, he said, they asked themselves, “What is safest thing to do for staff members and guests?”

    “The Camden Sea Dog team continues to follow all Maine CDC guidance, including sanitation practices, face masks, frequent hand-washing and workplace social distancing,” the restaurant said. “We believe these are effective measures to protect our staff, guests and community. We apologize for any inconvenience you may have experienced and will update via social media.”

    Melino said it is important to be upfront and transparent about closures and sanitation processes.

    “It’s the only way you can do it,” he said. “Be open and transparent. You’ve got to let people know. It’s the right thing to do.”

    The sanitization of the restaurant begins this week, he said.

    “We follow every guideline 100 percent,” he said. “We are trying to be abundantly cautious.”

    The employee, meanwhile, is awaiting results of the virus test, and is in quarantine. If the test returns positive for COVD-19, other staff members of the restaurant will be tested. If negative, the restaurant will look toward re-opening by the end of the week.

    “Decisions will be made when we get results, “ said Melino. “Hopefully, it comes back negative. And we can just go and disinfect and open back up sometime this week.”

    Melino said that this is the first Sea Dog restaurant in the chain that has confronted a COVID-19 situation. Not in Florida, New Hampshire, nor Portland. But it did happen in Camden, where the Sea Dog brew was first launched in 1993.

    “These are strange times,” he said.

    Reach Editorial Director Lynda Clancy at lyndaclancy@penbaypilot.com; 207-706-6657