October 24, 2021

Bagel shop reopens after worker gets virus

Owner continues disinfecting routine

Todd R. McAdam/managing Editor

Sandro Mironti, owner of Long Island Bagel on Main Street in Cortland, disinfects the door handle of the cafe after reopening following an employee testing positive for coronavirus. Mironti has reconfigured the shop to reduce the number of surfaces people can touch, and disinfects the remaining surfaces hourly.

New York Bagel owner Sandro Mironti shoved most of the café’s furniture to the side so nobody could touch it.

Every hour, he or an employee goes from the front door to the bathrooms in the back, disinfecting surfaces: the door handle, the handles to the drink coolers. The counter by the cash register, as well as the credit card reader and napkin dispenser. The restroom door handles and the facilities inside. The kitchen and work surfaces, too.

“We’re doing today what we were doing before this whole thing happened – cleaning,” Mironti said. “It’s a food business. You don’t take shortcuts on that.”

The one element he cannot control, he said, is the customer, but customers haven’t been a major problem. “We’ve been very lucky they’ve taken it to heart,” he said.

New York Bagel reopened Tuesday after an employee tested positive two weeks ago.

“We were not mandated to close,” Mironti said. Mironti said the employee had been wearing a mask and gloves while working.

Interim Cortland County Public Health Director Lisa Perfetti said the employee who tested positive went into isolation for 10 days and was interviewed by health department staff to see if the employee came into close contact — within 6 feet — of other people per guidelines set by the state Health Department.

The employee is able to return after going 72 hours without a fever — and without using a fever-reducing medication — but must wear a facemask for 14 days following the onset of the illness.

Mironti said no other employees tested positive and the one employee who did is fine and was released by the health department to go back to work.

However, Mironti decided to close because he and three other employees needed to quarantine as well after coming into contact with the positive employee, meaning there would not be enough employees to staff the business.

During the two weeks, Mironti also cleaned the facility again, something he said employees have been doing daily.

Perfetti said businesses where an employee tests positive must follow guidelines set by the state Department of Health. Those protocols include many of the actions the business was taking before the employee tested positive, including cleaning high-priority surfaces like doorknobs and countertops.

“COVID-19 is not a food-borne illness, so no additional inspection would be required,” Perfetti said.

Few businesses in Cortland County have shut down because workers tested positive. Pyrotek closed its 80-person manufacturing facility in Cortlandville for several days starting April 10 after two workers tested positive.