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VERIFY: Yes, a Prince George's County Burger King employee potentially contracted COVID-19 and the store closed to clean

A Burger King spokesperson says the Lanham restaurant closed and sanitized and the employees who were in contact with the employee were asked to self-quarantine.

LANHAM, Md. — QUESTION:

Three viewers contacted the Verify team about a post on social media that claimed an employee at a Lanham, Maryland, Burger King store was sick with coronavirus and that the restaurant refused to shut down. Is this post true?

ANSWER:

A Burger King spokesperson confirmed that an employee at their 8903 Annapolis Road location potentially contracted COVID-19. However, a spokesperson says the store closed and sanitized. 

SOURCES:

Burger King spokesperson 

Prince George's County Health Department

PROCESS:

Three viewers contacted the WUSA9 newsroom after seeing posts on social media that claimed an employee at a Burger King in Lanham, Maryland tested positive for COVID-19 and the store refused to shut down.

THE BURGER KING OFF 450 IN LANHAM (NEW CARROLLTON AREA, ACROSS FROM THE BEST WESTERN) DO NOT PATRONIZE THIS ESTABLISHMENT. YOU DON'T KNOW WHO'S INFECTED & COULD BE SERVING YOU.

So, we're verifying, is that true?

Our Verify researchers went straight to the source; in a statement, a Burger King spokesperson confirmed that an employee at the Lanham location potentially contracted the virus.

“Our number one priority is the health and safety of our guests and team members," the statement said. "Earlier in the week, when the franchisee was informed that one team member from the restaurant located at 8903 Annapolis Road potentially had contracted COVID-19, the restaurant was closed and sanitized, and the team members who were in contact with the employee were asked to self-quarantine. We are closely monitoring the situation and will continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and take all precautionary measures as the situation evolves.”

To confirm the restaurant closed, we went to the Prince George’s County Health Department.

The health department told our researchers inspectors visited the restaurant after getting a COVID-related complaint. 

The department said the restaurant closed voluntarily on Thursday, April 23, for a deep cleaning and made additional staffing arrangements to reopen on Friday, April 24.

So we can Verify, yes, an employee potentially contracted coronavirus, however, the claim the restaurant refused to close, is false.

It is important to point out, Prince George's County's Health Department said restaurants are not required to inform Maryland state or county health departments if an employee tests positive for COVID-19.

The Prince George’s County Health Department also says there aren’t any rules requiring a restaurant to tell the public if an employee tests positive, or any rules forcing them to shut down and clean before they re-open.

The health department recommends routinely cleaning employee workspaces, commonly touched surfaces, and having employees practice social distancing and wearing a face mask.

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