Hurricane's Grill at Brighton-Le-Sands suffers downturn after COVID cases

Business downturn: Laura and Craig Goldberg, say Hurricane's Grill at Brighton-Le-Sands, has suffered a huge loss of business. Picture: John Veage

Business downturn: Laura and Craig Goldberg, say Hurricane's Grill at Brighton-Le-Sands, has suffered a huge loss of business. Picture: John Veage

The owners of Hurricane's Grill at Brighton-Le-Sands say their business has been decimated after being linked to two cases of COVID-19 almost three weeks ago.

Laura Goldberg, who owns the restaurant with husband Craig, said business was down about 85 per cent since news broke on July 15 that a man who tested positive to coronavirus had dined at the restaurant.

The following day, NSW Health said a second person, a female in her late teens who dined at the same table as the infected man on July 11, had also tested positive.

The restaurant was shut down for several days to allow contact tracing to occur. It also underwent a deep clean. Fourteen staff, including the executive chef and operations manager, were forced into self-quarantine until July 25.

The news led to a public health alert and the restaurant was added to a list of COVID hotspots published on the NSW Health website.

But despite there being no more cases linked to the restaurant, it remained on the NSW Health list of COVID locations where diners must monitor for symptoms up until today, when it was finally removed.

Ms Goldberg told the Leader yesterday that she was surprised to learn from reading a Leader article that the venue would remain on the COVID hotspot list for 21 days.

"We thought July 25 because that is when we were told that our staff were OK to come back to work," she said.

"We were basically told staff had to self-isolate until the 25th and that is the end of that.

"It was not really communicated to us. We are not receiving any information."

Ms Godlberg said she contacted NSW Health over the past week to ask why they were still on the list but no one got back to them and she had to rely on a report in the Leader for an update.

A NSW Health spokeswoman responding to questions from the Leader on Monday said venues remained listed for "21 days from last exposure to capture all cases and possible secondary transmission".

She said "no further cases related to Hurricane's Grill at Brighton-Le-Sands have been identified to date".

Near empty: Laura and Craig Goldberg inside their restaurant. Picture: John Veage

Near empty: Laura and Craig Goldberg inside their restaurant. Picture: John Veage

Ms Goldberg said the loss of business they had suffered was causing a flow on effect.

"It's not just the effect on us, it's on our suppliers and staff. We brought back a lot of our people but now we have had to say 'Sorry, we don't have any shifts for you'," she said.

"We do not have any customers. It's really sad because we were doing quite well [since reopening].

"We are assuming it's not just because of the [COVID cases]. We are assuming that people are afraid to go out but it's not looking good."

Ms Goldberg said she understood people in the community were concerned but directives from NSW Health not to go out more than necessary were confusing people.

"If it is really so bad, shut us down and we will go back to before and just do takeaways," she said, adding new restrictions on restaurant dining that came in last Friday were also making it difficult to continue to trade.

"We have space for 350 people so we can accommodate the [one person per four square metres] rules better than most but they are now saying we have 1.5 metres between people at the same table. It's unsustainable," she said, adding patrons can argue they are from the same household to get around the rule.

"How are we meant to police that? The onus is on us but people have to take personal responsibility," she said.