Hop + Grind’s famed Durham location has transitioned to curbside pickup after confirmation of a positive coronavirus (COVID-19) case among staff. 

In a post on Facebook, Hop + Grind confirmed that one of their staff members tested positive for the virus. 

The restaurant stated that they have taken all necessary precautions regarding the employee. 

“Prior to receiving her results, we have had her self-quarantining and any potential staff members she encountered doing the same. We have disinfected and sanitized accordingly,” according to their post on Facebook.   

Hop + Grind say they feel it is best to restart their curbside-only model until after the holidays. This is in response to spiking COVID-19 cases, and to avoid crowding within their staff and community. 

Hop + Grind is situated right in Durham, New Hampshire’s downtown, which many University of New Hampshire (UNH) students frequent. Students at the university are tested twice a week and have seen their highest level of positive test rates in November.  

As of now, it is not confirmed whether or not the employee in question was part of the UNH testing program.  

La Festa, located in Dover, temporarily shut down due to a positive COVID-19 case but has since reopened. In an announcement from the company, they closed their doors in order to sanitize and disinfect their location.  

“Out of an abundance of caution we will be testing and cleaning for the next few days. We very much look forward to seeing you all soon.” 

Other restaurants have had similar situations arise. Flatbread Company, in Portsmouth, has shut its doors multiple times in response to the pandemic. In a statement on their website on Oct. 8, they confirmed that a team member had tested positive for COVID-19.  

“With the well-being of our team members, guests, as well as community in mind, we have decided to close until further notice.”  

Flatbreads had reopened to takeout only on Oct. 16 and moved back to dine-in on Oct. 22.  

Students at UNH have had mixed feelings about whether or not to eat out. Raymond Staples, a senior political science major eats out twice a week on the Seacoast. 

Staples feels comfortable dining in on the Seacoast given the necessary precautions restaurants have taken. 

“I am at least six feet apart from others. It makes me feel a bit better. I do realize I could still possibly get it, but I do feel safer knowing restaurant employees are wearing masks at all times,” said Staples.  

Cameron Scott, a junior computer science major, believes restaurants switching to a takeout-only model proves to be challenging. 

“I think it could be smart to transition to only doing takeout meals, especially with an off-campus restaurant that many students go to,” said Scott. 

He expressed his concern with students potentially having their hours cut as a result of this transition. 

“A downside to the going only takeout is that the students/people who work there aren’t going to have a job anymore,” said Scott.  

Dayna Dicola, a manager at Hop + Grind in Durham, explained how Hop + Grind has made this transition out of an abundance of caution. 

“We went takeout before when it was mandated by the governor,” said Dicola. 

When asked about a potential reduction in hours or potential cuts, Dicola simply responded, “No.” 

Dicolla was unable to say how long Hop + Grind will remain as takeout only. 

“Probably until January, but nothing is definite,” said Dicola.  

As cases begin to rise, state governments are beginning to crack down on restaurants and bars. New guidance from an executive order issued by Gov. Charlie Baker of Massachusetts requires certain businesses, including restaurants, to close at 9:30 p.m.  

Gov. Janet Mills of Maine issued a similar order, mandating restaurants to close by 9 p.m. each night. No such order exists for New Hampshire.  

A Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study recently found that adults who tested positive for COVID-19 were ‘twice as likely’ to have dined in at a restaurant in the past 14 days.  

Over 12.4 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the United States, with over 257,000 deaths. New Hampshire has reported 17,598 cases with 512 deaths.  

Photo Courtesy of Bobby Buivid from NH Magazine