PHOENIX — Beginning Tuesday, June 16, diners who visit LGO Hospitality's restaurants in Phoenix -- Chelsea's Kitchen, Ingo's Tasty Diner, Buck & Rider, and La Grande Orange Pizzeria -- will be required to wear a mask or face covering while inside their dining rooms.
Customers will be required to cover their faces when entering the restaurant and until they are seated at the table, when moving around the dining room, perhaps to go to the bathroom, and when exiting the restaurant.
The updated policy was announced late Monday via all of the restaurant's Facebook pages. It comes days after Chelsea's Kitchen, and a dozen other restaurants and businesses, self-reported potential COVID-19 exposures involving employees and other individuals.
LGO said the policy was made "in light of the rapidly increasing infection rate and number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona," according to the Facebook post.
"We so appreciate the patronage and support of our loyal guests during these past difficult months. No one wants a return to normalcy more than us, but we also cannot ignore the escalating situation in our state," the Arizona-based restaurant group said. "Despite any inconvenience or discomfort that our new mask-wearing policy may cause, the safety of our team members and guests comes first."
It was not clear if the new policy means the dining room at Chelsea's Kitchen has reopened. Last Friday, the restaurant abruptly closed its dining room, and later clarified that it was because "a person close to the restaurant" had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The restaurant remains open for takeout and delivery.
In recent weeks, Arizona has seen an increase in positive COVID-19 cases, as well as an increase in the infection rate, according to the Arizona Department of Health Service's online data dashboard.
As of Monday, there have been 36,705 positive cases of COVID-19 in the state and a total of 1,194 deaths. Of that, 1,014 positive cases and eight deaths were deemed new.
As ABC15 reported over the weekend, more than a dozen restaurants and businesses have reported COVID-19 exposures. In fact, within the last several days, Hash Kitchen in Phoenix, SanTan Brewing in Chandler and Phoenix, Spirit House in Chandler, Floridino's Pizza & Pasta in Chandler, The Shop Beer Co. in Tempe, PHX Beer Co. in Scottsdale, and Zipps Sports Grill have all reported exposures and temporarily closed their restaurants.
SanTan Brewing has since reopened both of its brewpubs.
In a news conference last week, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey acknowledged the state was seeing an increase in cases, but repeatedly said Arizona has enough beds, ICU beds, and ventilators should more people get sick. He also encouraged people to wear masks when out in public and unable to keep a six-foot distance from other people, as well as follow the other CDC-recommended guidelines.
He did not reveal any new policy changes.
"I think it’s important that people have the facts. This virus is not going away. There is not a cure for this virus and there is not a vaccine for this virus," Ducey said during the press conference last week. "So this virus is something we need to learn to live with. And we need to make sure that we are protecting the most vulnerable in our society, and those are folks at a certain age bracket with underlying health conditions and at-risk conditions, and we’re going to continue to do that every single day until there is a vaccine."