The COVID-19 pandemic is not only affecting daily life in Ellis County, but also impacting businesses that count on healthy help. When employees fall ill, not necessarily through any fault of their own, the repercussions can be wide-ranging on commerce, not to mention on the workers themselves.
This week, a couple of coronavirus occurrences shed light on the spread of the pandemic in Ellis County.
On Tuesday, the city of Waxahachie announced that an employee of the popular Raising Cane’s restaurant tested positive for the virus, resulting in the store’s closure and all employees entering a 14-day quarantine.
Then on the same day, two employees of the brand-new Buc-ee’s store in Ennis tested positive for the virus, resulting in the shutdown of its kitchens and the quarantining of 70 workers after only one day open.
At Raising Cane’s in Waxahachie, a 20-year-old female employee received a positive test result for COVID-19 on Monday, according to the city’s Emergency Management Office. Immediately following the diagnosis, all Raising Cane’s employees, including the employee with COVID-19, were sent home to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Additionally, Raising Cane’s closed the store, and it will remain closed for a minimum of 14 days. During that time, they have brought in a team of specialists to conduct a detailed biohazard cleaning, which will meet or exceed CDC standards.
“Raising Cane’s corporate leadership is working closely with the City of Waxahachie Emergency Management Office, and every effort is being made to ensure that risk to the public is minimized,” the city posted on social media.
The Waxahachie Emergency Management Office said it continues to monitor this situation closely, and if more information is available, that will be communicated to the public at that time.
In Ennis, the new Buc-ee’s location on Interstate 45 opened with great fanfare on Monday. One day later, the store was forced to discard all its hot food offerings after two kitchen employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Ennis Mayor Angie Juenemann said the two employees traveled to Ennis from other locations in late March. The city’s health department was notified by Buc-ee’s on Tuesday, and Juenemann posted a short news release on her Facebook page.
“The safety and well-being of the community of Ennis is our top priority,” Juenemann said. “Buc-ee’s is considered an essential business and will remain open. They will only serve prepackaged food and will not be preparing food on-site for the foreseeable future. They are also practicing social distancing including designated standing markers at the registers spaced 6 feet apart. The city of Ennis Health Department will continue to monitor the situation.”
A spokesman for Buc-ee’s told the Dallas Morning News on Wednesday the store is open and selling other packaged foods and snacks as well as items in the store’s gift section. An outside company has been brought in to do a deep clean of the kitchen this week, and the kitchen staff will return April 21.
As of Thursday night, the total COVID-19 count in Ellis County stood at 55 cases, up 10 from the day before. The total included 47 active cases, six recoveries and the death count remaining at two.
Of the total cases reported, 20 were in Ennis or within the vicinity of the city limits, with 18 cases reported in Waxahachie and 13 in Midlothian, according to county officials.