How Goode Company restaurants plan to test every employee for COVID-19 before reopening

HOUSTON, TX (KTRK) -- Restaurants across Texas are allowed to partially re-open on Friday, May 1st, but one of Houston's most popular restaurant groups is waiting until all its employees can be tested for COVID19.

"It's almost like opening new restaurants. We have lots of different protocols that need to be put in place," said Levi Goode, who runs the Goode Company Restaurants.

All ten Goode Company restaurants have been closed to customers for more than a month.

Even with to-go services, business is down 85%.

Still, Goode wants to wait until next week before opening seven of its ten restaurants.

"We've been in our communities that we serve for over four decades and we're taking a long term approach," he explained.

From now until the planned reopening, every Goode Company employee will receive a free COVID19 test.

A mobile health unit from Hamilton Health Box will provide daily temperature checks and random COVID19 tests for employees as long as necessary.

"Just like we now find it normal to have security checks as we walk through the airport, it'll now be normal to have some sort of healthcare safety control at the workplace," explained Adrian Tromel with Hamilton Health Box.

"These tiny little adjustments can just move the dial a little bit can move the needle quite a bit. Isolating fevers, isolating coughs," said Dr. Glenn Davis, Hamilton Health Box's chief medical officer. "Little adjustments go a long way and I think as people see that they will gain more confidence."

As for now, restaurants are only allowed to open at 25% occupacy. State regulations also require tables be spaced at least six feet apart. Only six people will be allowed per table.

There's a lot to do from now until opening, but, by keeping daily records of employee health, Goode hopes to avoid closing ever again.

"We've gone through several oil busts and hurricanes and 9/11 and Enron and everything that you can imagine over the last 43 years, but nothing has prepared us," Goode explained.

Seven Goode Company locations are scheduled to partially re-open sometime during the week of May 4th. Hours will be 11:30 am - 7:30 pm.

That includes BBQ Kirby, BBQ Memorial, Taqueria, Seafood Memorial, Kitchen & Cantina Memorial, and Kitchen & Cantina Woodlands. Seafood Westpark will open to go operations only.

For reservations, visit goodecompany.com.
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