Oklahoma Restaurant Association claims restaurants cannot be blamed for spike in COVID-19 cases


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma Restaurant Association claims contact tracing is misleading because there is no way to prove where a person contracted COVID-19.

“It’s been hard, a struggle no doubt,” Jim Hopper, president of the Oklahoma Restaurant Association, told KFOR.

It’s a struggle that’s lasted about five months for the the restaurant industry.

“Restaurants have struggled throughout this pandemic to do the right thing, just to keep their customers safe, their employees safe, follow social distancing,” Hopper said.

Earlier this week, the Restaurant Association posted this on Facebook:

“Support wearing masks to help save our industry!

As restaurants continue to serve the dining public, a false narrative has been created that restaurants are in part to blame for the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. To date, there is no evidence that proves restaurants are a cause for the increase of cases or that it is dangerous to dine out. Help us keep the restaurant industry afloat and continue to see a decrease in COVID-19 cases around the country! #SaveOurIndustry #SupportRestaurants #SupportRestaurantSafety”

Oklahoma Restaurant Association

Hopper told KFOR this was in reference to the OKC-County Health Department’s ‘Serious 5’, which is a list of COVID-19 hot spots that were determined by contract tracing from July 14th-July 28th. The list includes restaurants, daycares, office settings, faith-based venues and warehouses.

“I think it’s just a little bit misleading,” Hopper said. “The issue with contact tracing is that it doesn’t tell you where you contacted the virus.”

However, officials with the Health Department told KFOR that 8 percent of people they’ve talked with during the contract tracing process who test positive went to one of those five places where they could have contracted the virus.

“These five places are not the only places that you could be exposed to the virus, they’re just the places that we see repetitively that people talk about being at prior to developing symptoms,” said Ltoya Knighten, OCCHD Chief of Government Affairs.

Knighten said they’re not telling people to stay away from those locations but just to be cautious, wear a mask and social distance.

“What we want people to understand is, here is where we’re seeing people actually being exposed to the virus,” ​Knighten said.

“My point is, in the messages we’ve been trying to push out, is that eating out in a restaurant inside, that you are not contracting the virus there because of all the protocols that restaurants have in place,” Hopper said.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage


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