Vail’s Sweet Basil closes due to employee’s positive test for coronavirus; other food & beverage establishments announce closures, new sanitary policies

Sweet Basil owner says he's been assured there's no danger to employees, public

One of Vail’s best-known restaurants is closing for the next two weeks, but other local businesses have announced that despite event cancellations, they will remain open with regular operating hours, and have increased the number of sanitary measures used in the food and beverage preparation areas, as well as in guest spaces.

Matt Morgan, owner of Sweet Basil and Mountain Standard, said Friday that one of Sweet Basil’s staff members had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

Morgan said he’d talked “at length” with Eagle County Public Health about the staff member.

“There’s no mandate to close,” Morgan said, adding that no one else is sick at the restaurants, and there are no indications anyone else has been infected. But, he added, the remaining staff at the restaurant was nervous about the positive test.

Out of concern for the staff and guests, closing “seemed the prudent thing to do,” Morgan said.

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Morgan said the decision to close for two weeks was spurred in part from talking to Cameron Douglas, owner of El Segundo and Montauk. Those restaurants also had a staff member with a positive test for COVID-19, and have also closed for a couple of weeks.

“He was a really strong voice on this,” Morgan said.

Shakedown also announced in a Facebook post that it would close due to COVID-19 concerns. No employees have tested positive at this time.

Hey Friends! Our time has come to step up and close the bar for a little while. Our concern is for the the COVID virus…

Posted by Shakedown Bar on Thursday, March 12, 2020

Some businesses have choseen to remain open businesses and have announce extra sanitary measures. The Bookworm of Edwards said in an email to newsletter subscribers that it would take the following precautions:

  • Asking patrons and staff to stay home from the store if sick, and to continue supporting local booksellers by purchasing titles online at
  • Serving drinks in compostable, single-use cups.
  • Serving food with individually wrapped single-use plasticware and napkins.
  • Suspending the self-serve station for coffee, tea and water, asking patrons who would normally use the public water bottle refilling station to come with their bottles already filled or to purchase bottled water instead.

Terra Bistro in Vail Village announced similarly on Instagram that it would remain open for its standard hours.

Vail Brewing Co. posted a letter to customers on its Facebook page explaining that its taprooms in EagleVail and Vail Village would remain open as normal. Among its extra precautionary cleaning measures, VBC said it would ask staff to “go above and beyond obsessive” when cleaning tables, chairs, floors and other shared surfaces.

A message to our customers and community!

Posted by Vail Brewing Company on Friday, March 13, 2020

Tasters will not be offered until further notice.

Personal growlers will not be filled.

Instead of having the communal water filling station, water cups will be provided by request, and those cups may soon become plastic or compostable.

Staff has been asked to stay home if sick, to minimize interaction with customers to avoid community spread and guests exhibiting symptoms associated with COVID-19 may be asked to leave, “to protect other guests and staff.”

Entertainment editor Casey Russell contributed reporting to this story.

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