An employee has described the Ivy Café, Richmond, as “a coronavirus waiting room” - despite the restaurant chain’s claims that they are adhering to health and safety measures.

Last Friday, the Richmond & Twickenham Times reported that two cases of Coronavirus were confirmed at the Ivy Café, Richmond.

A current employee, who wished to remain anonymous, has since come forward, claiming that customers are being misled over the extent of outbreak.

They told the Richmond & Twickenham Times that some members of staff felt that the restaurant should close, due to unsafe conditions. 

According to the employee, at least 14 workers have tested positive for the virus since last Monday, with the suggestion that among those who had fallen ill were receptionists, waiters and chefs.

The Ivy has refuted the number of positive cases as described by the employee, but has not provided any update on numbers since confirming two positive cases last Friday (October 2).

The employee continued to explain that cover staff from different branches had been brought in, but that those with symptoms had not been told to self-isolate properly.

They described the restaurant as a “corona waiting room” with workers waiting to be diagnosed. 

The employee said their concerns were ignored by health and safety advisors, causing them to feel “unsafe at work”. They continued that it was “disturbing” that the restaurant remains open.

They said: “I am young, so it may not be that bad for me to catch this virus but I live with vulnerable family members and am terrified for their safety, I feel at my most unsafe when at work now.”

They also explained how they felt trapped in the job because they needed the money: “The fact we are still open is disturbing to me and makes me feel like it may be happening at a lot of establishments. We can't quit because we need the money.”

The Richmond and Twickenham Times was also contacted separately by another member of staff, who shared similar concerns for the Richmond community.

In response, a spokesperson for the Ivy Café said thorough Coronavirus measures were in place.

“It of course remains Company policy that any member of staff who has tested positive for COVID-19 will self-isolate with immediate effect, as well as those in close proximity to them. Our policies and health and safety measures are fully in-line with Government guidelines and all other staff members are being tested,” said an Ivy Café spokesperson.

They added that the following protocols were underway: 

  1. Temperature checks of all staff and customers. 
  2. All customer facing staff wear face coverings.
  3. Reduced capacity based on government guidelines. 
  4. All tables spaced at a minimum of 1M distance in addition to being situated side to side or back to back from other tables.
  5. Screens between tables where 1M and mitigation was not achievable.
  6. Hand sanitiser at all entrances, tables and toilets.
  7. Additional staff training on cleaning/ disinfection and social distancing. 
  8. Continuous disinfection of hand contact surfaces.