COVID-19 concerns temporarily shutter Grass Valley Brewery, Thirsty Barrel |

COVID-19 concerns temporarily shutter Grass Valley Brewery, Thirsty Barrel

FILE — Sean Cox and Nathan Keys stand in front of the Roost pub grub window inside of Grass Valley Brewing Company's taproom in this 2018 file photo.
Elias Funez/

Concerns that staff and possibly customers had been exposed to COVID-19 caused the temporary shutdown of Grass Valley Brewing Company and Thirsty Barrel Taphouse & Grille this week.

Grass Valley Brewing on Tuesday closed its facility on East Main Street after learning that an employee of Roost — which serves food within the brew pub — had tested positive for COVID-19.

“To insure that our guests and staff are not at risk, we are taking the proactive measures to close while we deep clean and sanitize our facility,” brewery co-owner Tom Rogers said in a Facebook post.

“We felt it was important, to tell people,” Rogers said Thursday. “We closed immediately, we shut down voluntarily.”

The staff came in Wednesday and Thursday to deep-clean, bleaching and sanitizing the business, Rogers said.

Owners of both businesses dispelled rumors that the employee had worked for days with symptoms and that employees were not wearing masks as mandated.

“We’ve been doing everything above-board and we have been following the rules,” Rogers said. “Our personnel have been wearing their masks.”

Roost owner Sean Cox said the employee, who does have an underlying medical condition, had started feeling ill during a two-day period he was not scheduled to work. On the third day, when he was scheduled to work, he still had symptoms and called Cox.

“He self-quarantined for slightly over two weeks,” Cox said.

The employee had taken a test six days before coming in to the building, and had no symptoms for five days before the visit on Saturday, Cox said.

According to Cox, the employee spent about four hours in the building, and was not working at the time. Cox said the man was masked when he saw him.

“He might have been there Friday as well, but I can’t verify that,” Cox said. “He has been on quarantine since then and is waiting for further test results.”

Cox said none of the staff who came in contact with the man — including himself — have reported any symptoms.

“The staff at the brewery and at Roost have been directed to quarantine for two weeks and/or get a test,” he said, adding staff will not be allowed back to work until they report two weeks with no symptoms or a negative test.

“I’m not (happy) about any of this,” he said. “But this is the time to take extra precautions. I’m not going to leave anything to chance, we’re not going to (allow) even a small possibility of having anyone get sick. We want to protect our clientele and our community.”

Cox said that he had not been mandating the cooks on the line to wear masks, but stressed that anyone who went to the counter and interacted with customers, or who left the kitchen, had to be masked. When they reopen, he said, everyone, including the cooks, will be fully masked.

“We have a thermal scanner, we check every day,” he said. “I’ve done every single possible precaution.”

Rogers said the brewery hopes to reopen Sunday or Monday.

Thirsty Barrel posted on Facebook that it closed down on Wednesday.

“In an overabundance of caution, we have decided to temporarily close,” owner Craig Davis posted. “We recently found out that one of our employees has been exposed with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. It is important for us to make sure we are responsible and protect our staff and the public and take precautionary actions.”

The post states the employee would be tested and would quarantine, and said the building would be deep-cleaned and sanitized. Davis could not be reached for comment, and the phone message at the Thirsty Barrel did not give an estimated date for reopening.

Contact reporter Liz Kellar at 530-477-4236 or by email at

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