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Mon, 07/13/2020 - 15:20
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Owners put customer safety ahead of making money

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RICHMOND – Restaurant owners to put people before profit when a server tested positive for COVID-19 at Daddy’s 10-13 Diner, 1003 E. Main St.

The owners closed the diner pending test outcomes for all employees, Daddy’s Diner owner Donna Brinkoetter said Monday.

“We didn’t want to take any chances. We have so many elderly people that come in here and I would be devastated if somebody didn’t survive, so we decided to close until we get their test results back,” she said.

Customers deserve to know the situation, Brinkoetter said.

“Our whole crew’s being tested, including me and my husband,” she said.

At this point, because the worker who tested positive did not work many hours, caution is the primary reason the diner closed. She said customers are unlikely to have been exposed, but she chose to close to make sure they are safe.

Brinkoetter said she is not sure of the cause for exposure, but a girl who tested positive may have contracted the virus while attending a high school party involving Hardin-Central students. Then that girl may have spread the virus to the Daddy’s Diner employee.

“That’s when I started worrying,” she said. “So, when I had one of my workers test positive … I thought, ‘You guys have got to all go get tested.’”

The right thing is not the easy thing to do, Brinkoetter said.

“Hopefully, the tests will come back today or tomorrow because, I’m telling you, I can’t be closed much longer. … I’ve still got the bills,” she said, but emphasized money comes second to public health.

The other concern about being closed is Daddy’s Diner employees need their income, Brinkoetter said.

“I’m worried about my workers, because I want to make sure that they can survive,” she said.

Not everyone is happy about the diner being closed. Some people complained, Brinkoetter said.

“When I put it on Facebook, I had people that were saying bad things, and it’s like, you know, we’re trying to do the best we can do,” she said. “Some people were coming back and being positive, and telling (the others), ‘Shut up, they’re doing what they can do.’

“Everybody else is hiding it and then using other excuses. I want to be honest and let people know.”

Ray County Presiding Commissioner Bob King said he also understood that a high school party in the Hardin area may have been where the virus spread.

Ray County Health Department Administrator Shelby Spor could not be reached for comment.

The department has not released the names of communities where COVID-19 has been confirmed and how many people are infected in each community.

Johns Hopkins University has reported 31 cases of COVID-19 have occurred since the start of the pandemic. The county has suffered no deaths.

Counties bordering Ray and their numbers: Jackson, 1,586 cases, 44 deaths; Clay, 558 cases, 13 deaths; Lafayette, 103 cases, 2 deaths; Caldwell, 15 cases, 1 death; Clinton, 33 cases, no deaths; and Carroll, 31 cases, no deaths.

Daddy’s 10-13 Diner is known for serving sit-down, family fare, including biscuits and gravy, fried chicken and desserts, including pies.