‘I Did the Right Thing’ — Casper Restaurant Temporarily Closes Due to COVID
The owner of a popular Casper restaurant and bar said he knows he is doing the right thing in temporarily closing his and his wife's establishment after three employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Office Bar and Grill owner Jim Kanelos said it's not easy to be brutally honest with his employees and customers, but it's the correct move.
"I just think honesty is the best virtue you can have," Kanelos said. "Your employees and your customers respect you more as a business when you're honest."
Kanelos, who owns the business with his wife, Karen, said the Office will be closed for at least the next seven days, depending on how many staff test positive for COVID.
Kanelos said an employee tested positive roughly a week ago. A few days later, another employee began feeling symptoms.
That employee tested positive, too. Then a third employee tested positive on Monday.
"We just wanted to be careful," Kanelos said. "It's a tough thing."
He added that health officials did not order the closure and it was instead voluntary.
In addition to Casperites temporarily losing a popular place to grab dinner or catch a football game, 27 or so employees are losing out on work for at least the next seven days — not easy news to deliver as a business owner.
"Nobody wants to lose hours, especially in a time where they've had two months off," Kanelos said, referring to the COVID-induced shutdowns earlier this year. "(The employees) all know it's the right decision. They don't want to get any of their family members sick if they can avoid it."
Judging by the business's Facebook page, customers have reacted positively to the news. Comments have typically thanked the Kanelos family for taking the virus seriously and putting patrons' health before the bottom line.
It's been nice to see, Kanelos said.
Still, it hasn't been easy. Some expenses with running a restaurant don't go away simply because it's not operating.
"None of that matters when it comes down to everyone's health," Kanelos said. "It's tough because you just want to do the right thing.
"I did the right thing."