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Puritan Backroom temporarily closed after bartender positive COVID test

A popular New Hampshire restaurant known for politics and chicken tenders will temporarily close this week after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, the Puritan Backroom in Manchester, New Hampshire announced it will be closed on Tuesday and Wednesday, as they work with local health officials to follow appropriate response protocols. According to the post, the employee who tested positive was a bartender who last worked last Saturday.

“Even though this employee is asymptomatic, we believe it is best to err on the side of caution and take a short operational break,” the restaurant said. “The health and safety of our guests and employees is of the utmost importance and over the next couple of days we will take a number of steps to ensure that sense of trust.”


Puritan officials said the bartender had “been in close contact with someone else who was asymptomatic but tested positive for the virus,” which they learned about Saturday at work.

“The employee learned of that positive test at noon on Saturday and the employee was immediately asked to leave the Puritan, get tested for the virus, and quarantine the test results,” the post said Tuesday.

The restaurant said it has identified any other Puritan employees who may have been in close contact with the bartender and will require them to provide a negative COVID-19 test before returning to work. The Puritan also hired a professional cleaning team to disinfect the entire Puritan facility.

The news comes after several other well-known Manchester restaurants have been temporarily closed following positive COVID-19 employee tests.

“We understand these are unprecedented times and appreciate your support and patience as we do our best to navigate safely together,” the Puritan Backroom wrote Tuesday.

The 103-year-old family-run restaurant, owned by New Hampshire rep Chris Pappas, caused a sensation in February for winning a “Classics Award” from the James Beard Foundation. It also made headlines in December after 18 people who attended a private function at the facility fell ill with a gastrointestinal disease.

Joe Biden, the former vice president and Democratic presidential candidate, became the latest high-profile politician to pay a visit to the Puritan Backroom in February when he stopped there for ice cream.

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