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No, Spokane-area businesses aren't required to notify public of COVID-19 cases

One or two cases connected to a business in the Spokane area is not "a public health concern," health officer Dr. Bob Lutz said.

Editor's note: Above video is a report on local businesses asking customers to wear masks to keep them open

SPOKANE, Wash. — As multiple businesses in the Spokane area report positive coronavirus cases, KREM viewers are reaching out with their concerns. 

One of the questions people have asked, among others, revolves around whether businesses connected to positive COVID-19 cases are required to notify the public. Simply put, the answer is no.

Businesses are required to notify the Spokane Regional Health District about any positive COVID-19 cases under rules outlined by a proclamation from Washington Gov. Jay Inslee, according to health officer Dr. Bob Lutz.

However, businesses are not required to notify the public if they have a positive COVID-19 case. 

“If I have one or two cases in a situation, depending on the situation, that is not a public health concern," Lutz said during a press conference on Wednesday. 

Lutz pointed to larger outbreaks, such as one connected to Borracho Tacos & Tequileria that infected 46 people with coronavirus, as those that prompt public health concern. 

RELATED: 46 coronavirus cases now linked to outbreak at Spokane's Borracho

Additionally, SRHD does not require businesses to close for cleaning if an employee or customer tests positive, spokesperson Kelli Hawkins said. She added that the district does have the power to close them, but would only do so if it was "really necessary."

Though local businesses aren't mandated to tell the public about cases or temporarily close, many in the Spokane area have chosen to do so regardless. 

In early July, Indaba posted on social media about an employee who had tested positive for coronavirus and provided the dates and times that they worked. The popular shop also closed its doors temporarily. 

Dutch Bros. Coffee announced on July 7 that an employee of a Spokane location had tested positive for COVID-19.

More recently, Cochinito Taqueria in Spokane announced this week that it would be closed until Monday, July 20, after an employee tested positive for coronavirus. 

RELATED: Cochinito Taqueria closes temporarily after employee tests positive for COVID-19

KREM has reported on several outbreaks of coronavirus in the Spokane area after receiving notification from public health officials or the businesses themselves. 

One of those outbreaks at the Philadelphia Macaroni Company, a pasta manufacturing plant in Spokane, infected dozens of people with coronavirus.

A spokesperson for Amazon also notified KREM this week that employees of its Spokane fulfillment center have tested positive for COVID-19.

RELATED: Amazon reports COVID-19 cases in Spokane fulfillment center employees