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Officials Identify Restaurants, Shops Visited By 4th Greene County Coronavirus Case

jasleen_kaur, used with permission
Flickr via Creative Commons

Correction: an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that a patient with COVID-19 had lunch at Big Biscuit on South Campbell on March 16, based on initial information from local health officials. The patient actually had lunch at that location on March 13, according to officials, and this article has been updated to reflect that. It has also been updated to include a response from a local restaurant.

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department has released some dates and places visited recently by the patient who is the county’s fourth confirmed case of COVID-19. The patient was in contact with international visitors in the area, officials said.

Health department director Clay Goddard said in a virtual press conference Wednesday afternoon that the public should be aware of the following:

  • On Thursday, March 5, the international travelers and the fourth local case had lunch in the upstairs area of Bruno’s Italian Restaurant. They then shopped at Branson Landing.
  • On Friday, March 6, the international travelers had breakfast at Hemingway’s and shopped at Bass Pro.
  • On Thursday, March 12, the fourth local case had a dinner meeting in a private room at Ocean Zen.
  • On Friday, March 13, the fourth local case had lunch at Big Biscuit on South Campbell.

Goddard said because COVID-19 is believed to be primarily spread through infected droplets from a sneeze or cough, the community exposures listed above are what he considers “relatively low-risk.”   However, if you were in those places on those dates—and you develop symptoms—you should reach out to your physician, Goddard said.
He also dispelled rumors about the patients having gone to church services.  He said all involved patients report not going to church services during this timeframe.

Bruno Gargiulo, owner of Bruno's restaurant, responds to news

The owner of the quaint, locally owned Italian restaurant Bruno's told KSMU he remembers the international group of people who dined upstairs on March 5.  

"There are no symptoms of anyone [here], from anything I know. The only person they were in contact with was the server, and she has already taken another job," he said.

He said the server's new job is in the health care field, but she has been isolated for 14 days with no symptoms at the instruction of her new employer.

Garguilo said the March 5 diners were affiliated with an international faith group.

The news comes less than 24 hours after Springfield restaurants were ordered to halt all dine-in services as local officials try to stem the tide of growing cases of COVID-19. See our earlier reporting on that local ordinance here.

"I will try to stay open and see what happens.  But this ordinance is for two weeks. And we don't know what's going to happen in two weeks," he said.

Gargiulo was born and raised in Sicily, Italy; his restaurant in downtown Springfield is one classic example of the American Dream manifested in the Ozarks. 

He's offering take-out and delivery, but as of 7:00 p.m. Wednesday, he hadn't received a single phone call.

"I  know how to swim. But it depends how rough the waters get," he said.

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