The COVID-19 pandemic has already wreaked general havoc on the St. Louis food and beverage community. Yesterday, its reign of despair reached a new level, dealing a blow to a beloved restaurant institution: Eight employees at Annie Gunn's Restaurant (16806 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield; 636-532-7684) have tested positive for the virus.
Owners Jane and Thom Sehnert announced the news last night on their website, noting that they wanted their customers "to be knowledgeable of what has occurred" and their "heartfelt response in respect to all involved."
According to the statement, the Sehnerts became aware of their employees' health situation after they had closed the restaurant on March 19th, a decision they made in accordance with the St. Louis County Health Department's directive. Prior to that closure, no employees reported to management any symptoms of the virus. The restaurant's adjacent business, the Smokehouse Market, closed on March 22, and to date, no market employees have tested positive for COVID-19.
The Annie Gunn's news comes at an already fraught time for the St. Louis hospitality community, as businesses struggle with how to survive in the face of the pandemic. Some, like Annie Gunn's, have decided to temporarily shutter completely while others fight to keep their businesses afloat with takeout and delivery service.
The Sehnerts emphasize that they are working with the St. Louis County health officials "to take appropriate actions in accordance with their guidance and are conducting extensive professional disinfecting of our restaurant with industry experts." Still, their thoughts remain, first and foremost, with their employees and the health care providers on the front lines battling the disease, and they look forward to the day when they can reopen their doors and welcome back their beloved guests.
"We miss you already and miss seeing you in the coming days and cannot wait to welcome you back as soon as we can."
You can read the entire statement below.
3-30-20 UPDATE FROM JANE AND THOM “Taking care of our employees and customers alike is first and foremost in all we do. In compliance with the St. Louis County Health Department directive to close all restaurants, we closed our restaurant on March 19th. We have since learned that eight of our employees have tested positive for COVID-19. None of our employees experienced or reported to any management any symptoms prior to March 19th. We are relieved that no employees of our adjacent market, which has been closed since March 22nd, have reported symptoms. We are supporting our affected restaurant employees any way we can and wish them rapid recoveries. Our hearts are with all of our employees, who are family to us. We will be working closely with St. Louis County health authorities to take appropriate actions in accordance with their guidance and are conducting extensive professional disinfecting of our restaurant with industry experts. Above all, we want our customers to be knowledgeable of what has occurred and our heartfelt response in respect to all involved. These are challenging times for our restaurant family and community. Our thoughts remain with all those affected by this virus and the frontline medical professionals caring for those who are at risk. We miss you already and will miss seeing you in the coming days, and cannot wait to welcome you back as soon as we can. Of course, we are devastated by these circumstances and will keep all of you in our thoughts and prayers.” Jane and ThomWe are always hungry for tips and feedback. Email the author at [email protected]