North Fork Country Club has shut down all service operations for two weeks after members of its staff tested positive for COVID-19, the club’s general manager said Friday.
A spokesperson for the Suffolk County Department of Health also confirmed that “more than one” guest at a wedding held at the Cutchogue club last Saturday has tested positive for the coronavirus.
The catering facility closed on Thursday after it learned a staff member had tested positive for COVID-19, something they reported to the Suffolk County Department of Health, NFCC general manager Raluca Pintea said in an interview.
Ms. Pintea said “a couple” of positive cases have now been reported among staff at the country club, though she declined to give an exact number.
Ms. Pintea said all staff members, regardless of where they work at the club, have been required to undergo COVID-19 testing. She said that while some employees received rapid tests, others are awaiting results. All employees are isolating at home, she said.
NFCC will remain closed for two weeks, Ms. Pintea added, though members can continue to book no-contact rounds of golf with no food or drink service. She said she could not comment on any weddings or other events held at the club and wants to protect member privacy.
She added that she did not know how the employees contracted the illness.
“In my personal opinion, there’s no way to know,” she said.
Ms. Pintea said the employee who first reported testing positive for COVID-19 does not have contact with guests.
Grace Kelly-McGovern, a Suffolk County DOH spokesperson, said the guests at the wedding who tested positive are under home isolation.
“This is an ongoing investigation,” she said. “Any persons who attended the event are encouraged to self-quarantine at home at this time and seek testing for any symptoms. We do not have any more information about the event to share at this time.”
Ms. Pintea declined to say how many guests attended the wedding and she said she has not been notified of any potential discipline against NFCC by the Department of Health or the New York State Liquor Authority.
While the full scope of the outbreak is not yet known, ripple effects have been felt in the surrounding community. Carolyn Iannone, the owner of Love Lane Kitchen in Mattituck, said she was forced to close her restaurant Thursday after learning of the positive tests and knowing that two of her employees attended the wedding. She also required all staff members to undergo testing and said the restaurant may need to operate on a limited schedule to maintain adequate staffing and customer safety.
Ms. Iannone said she did have enough staff members who tested negative for the coronavirus and had no exposure to reopen for takeout today.
“This has just been so challenging,” she said of operating during the pandemic. “But the safety of our staff and community remain our No. 1 priority.”
Mattituck High School also closed its building Friday after a student tested positive for COVID-19. No other details were provided in relation to that case. Cutchogue East remains open.
Two other recent Suffolk County catering events made headlines in recent weeks. Giorgio’s in Baiting Hollow had its liquor license suspended after hosting a wedding with nearly 100 guests last month. Current state guidelines limit catered events to 50 guests.
The Miller Place Inn was fined $12,000 by the Suffolk County Department of Health following a Sweet 16 County Executive Steve Bellone called a “superspreader event.” The Miller Place party led to 37 positive COVID-19 tests among people who attended.