Dante's temporarily closed due to possible COVID exposure

Posted at 6:00 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 20:53:29-04

Two weeks after reopening to the public following an extended closure that began several months ago, Dante's Creative Cuisine in Great Falls has temporarily closed their doors once more.

General manager Monica Deshaw said Cascade City-County Health Department informed them Wednesday that the restaurant had been named as a contact trace location for possible exposure to COVID-19 between August 12th and 14th.

“We got a phone call...letting us know that we had a potential exposure from somebody who had tested positive for Covid-19,” Deshaw said.

While the CCHD did not require Dante’s to close their doors, the small-staffed business felt doing so was necessary given the fact that the majority of their staff are now in quarantine. “On Friday nights my entire staff works so we are all required to go into quarantine per the safety measures to make sure this doesn’t spread into our community. And so we really don’t have the staff to try to replace those people we had to put into quarantine,” Deshaw said.

She also said she’d rather be safe than sorry when making a decision affecting her employees and customers. In fact, that same reason was the underlying motivation for Dante's decision to stay closed during most of the pandemic. “We do have an older clientele that we worry about,” Deshaw said, “We’re really close with all our customers that come in so we were like - let’s just take that extra step.”

Dante’s closed a few days before the governor ordered restaurants to close in March and remained that way until two weeks ago - implementing some new safety measures upon their reopening.

“We’ve really always stuck to high standards when it comes to any of the health department food regulations. This was just an added list of a few things that we needed to do - which we already pretty much had in place to begin with because in a restaurant you already have those rules,” Deshaw said.

They feel that the sanitation measures they recently implemented - the sanitation of any items used within the facility and the addition of more sanitation stations - were effective, and will continue to practice them when the restaurant reopens on August 31st. Staff will also return a few days prior to reopening to sanitize the restaurant and prepare for business.

Dante’s is at 1325 8th Avenue North; once they reopen, they will resume normal business hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. for lunch and 5 p.m. to 8 p.m for dinner.

The data below is from the official Montana website on August 19th:

  • TOTAL CASES & RECOVERIES: Montana now reports 6,072 cumulative cases statewide, with 4,434 people recovered.
  • HOSPITALIZATIONS: There are currently 101 patients hospitalized, one fewer than yesterday. There have been 357 hospitalizations due to COVID-19 since the pandemic began.
  • DEATHS: The cumulative number of deaths attributed to COVID-19 in Montana is 89, an increase of five since yesterday.
  • ACTIVE CASES: The state reports there are currently 1,549 active COVID-19 cases in Montana.
  • TESTING: The number of tests increased by 1,027 over the previous 24-hour reporting period, for a new cumulative state-wide total of 207,560.

Numbers reported by the state each day occasionally differ from those reported by county public health departments due to periodic lag times in reporting data to the state. We encourage people to check the official website and/or Facebook page of their respective county health department for any updates that are not yet included in the state's daily updates.