By TANYA SMITH-CARTWRIGHT
MANAGEMENT of Shima at The Island House has confirmed that in recent weeks a staff member tested posted for COVID-19, but proper protocols were followed and continue to be adhered to.
James Wyndham, general manager, defended the popular high-end eatery after The Tribune inquired on claims that Shima had not closed for deep cleaning and sanitisation following confirmation of the COVID-19 positive case.
It has also been claimed that Shima has repeatedly broken Emergency Powers protocols by allowing indoor dining.
“About two weeks ago, one of their kitchen staff tested positive for COVID-19,” a reliable source told The Tribune. “They just continued on serving guests and making people come to work. They, unlike every place else that had a case, did not close or deep cleanse, nor did they even inform anybody. The staff is extremely anxious.”
The source also alleged the restaurant was frequently allowing indoor dining, despite only outdoor dining being allowed under the current Emergency Powers Order.
In an interview with The Tribune on Friday, Mr Wyndham admitted a staff member tested positive for the coronavirus, but insisted the area in which the person worked was sanitised.
“Essentially, you are right,” Mr Wyndham said. “We did have one colleague who had a fever. We immediately sent that colleague home and instructed the colleague to get a COVID-19 test. We immediately determined who that colleague had been around and we narrowed it down to a group and they were immediately tested.
“All of those colleagues came back negative, but the actual colleague who had the symptoms had a positive test result. The area the colleague was working in, as per the CDC (Centres for Disease Control) recommendation was sanitised and deep cleaned.”
Continuing to defend the company’s compliance with COVID-19 protocols, Mr Wyndham said the worker was given a letter by the Ministry of Health informing that he or she was fit to return to work, but Island House went a step further.
“The letter said the referenced individual had been quarantined and was fit to return to normal duty,” he said. “We did not think this was enough from the Ministry of Health and we took the extra precaution of re-testing the colleague who returned a negative test result. The colleague has returned to work. We, as a business, have always tried to be cautious and continually refer to the government updates.”
In terms of COVID-19 protocols being followed at the Island House property, Mr Wyndham said everything possible is done to ensure the safety of guests and his colleagues.
When pressed on allegations of breaking Emergency Orders by allowing indoor dining, Mr Wyndham said: “Even the owners, when they come in for dinner, they sit outside. The only time that sort of experience (people seated on the inside) would happen is if it rained or a thunderstorm occurred or some monsoon condition that affected the resort.
“The team and every guest is temperature tested upon arrival to the property. No mask, no entry to the property. We have regular sanitizing, regular deep cleaning, regular hand-washing – all of this is absolutely enforced throughout property. We also have feedback from our guests and they feel safe on our property.”