Chatham Considers Releasing Names of Restaurants with Virus Cases

CHATHAM – An emergency order that would require the names of restaurants that have seen positive coronavirus cases to be publicly released is being considered by officials in Chatham.

Chatham Board of Health Chairman John Beckley explained during a recent meeting that considering an informed decision on the matter is important.

“We would thereby be more transparent,” Beckley said, “in terms of the community and the public to be aware that there was a newly described case involving a particular restaurant.”

Current protocols state that restaurants just have to alert the town’s health department of any positive COVID-19 cases.

Town officials said that Massachusetts does not explicitly require that the names of these restaurants be released to the public. Information on where the cases were found would be published on the town’s website.

Board of Health member Noble Hansen said that the anonymity of those who do test positive for the virus, such as a restaurant consumer or employee, should remain in tact regardless of what the town decides to do.

Adding caveats that would keep case information generic, he added, could be a good idea. Other officials in the town echoed those sentiments.

Hansen also contended that if the town were to move forward with this, putting an additional burden on restaurants in question to contact everyone who entered over the span of a few days would not make sense, since releasing the information on the website would be “sufficient.”

“I think that that information would be public,” Hansen said.

Chatham officials will be taking the potential order up once again in the near future.

About Brendan Fitzpatrick

Brendan, a recent graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, is one of the newest members of the NewsCenter team. When not on the beat, you'll probably find him watching Boston sports.
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