On August 27, 2020, a post on social media stated that an employee at the Sapulpa Braum’s store had tested positive for COVID-19, and said that employees were threatened with “retaliation” if they told anyone what had happened. One employee stated she was sent home for calling to inform her mother.
The Sapulpa Times reached out to the Braum’s corporate office for verification and clarification.
Amanda Beuchaw, Braum’s Public Relations spokesperson said the employees were told and that she spoke with members of management to make sure everyone at the establishment was apprised of the situation. The employee who tested positive was sent home and “placed on leave.”
According to Beuchaw, ”All the measures were taken to clean the store. Everyone was told if they felt uncomfortable working that they could go home. If they felt the need to go get tested, they could do that, (and) anyone who may been in contact with said employee.”
When asked about the alleged retaliation for discussing the matter, Beuchaw replied, “Employees were only told they needed to quit discussing the employee to protect their privacy.”
The Sapulpa Times asked Beuchaw if there was a protocol for public disclosure of an employee testing positive for COVID-19. “We don’t release a statement every time we have an employee test positive in different locations. But, we do not hinder that information, either. We make it available when asked, of course, and disclose to our employees who were in contact with that employee.”
The Sapulpa Times contacted the Creek County Health Department to find out if Braum’s had complied with COVID-19 guidelines established for restaurants. The person responsible for restaurant safety, Robert Talley, stated that restaurants follow CDC protocols. “Basically, once they find out they have a positive they send that employee home for 14 days. The way that comes about is when someone’s positive, their contact tracer makes contact with them to let them know they are positive, and also ask them a series of questions, one of which is, do they work in a food establishment? If the answer is yes, they notify us.”
Talley said that The Creek County Health Department had not yet been notified.” I am aware of the situation, I have been to Braum’s and spoke to them. I got both sides of the story. They’re following all the guidelines.” Talley said management sent the female employee for testing and when the test came back positive, they sent her home for 14 days.” They found out the next day that the boyfriend who lives with her also works there and sent him home for 14 days. We have offered free testing for the rest of all the employees. They just call down here to get tested.”
Talley commented that there were numerous calls of concern about possible exposure by customers. He said that when he asked if they themselves were wearing a mask in the store, almost everyone said “no.” The number for the Creek County Health Department is 918-224-5531.