With serious concern regarding students’ health and safety off campus during the pandemic, The Black Sheep isn’t taking any risks with employees or customers. The restaurant serves farm-to-table food in downtown Whitewater employing several university students.
“We require masks on all of our staff. We spaced out tables so we’re not as tightly packed in the restaurant, as well as opened up our outdoor seating area so there’s open air for guests who prefer to dine outside rather than in an enclosed area,” said owner and UW-Whitewater alum Tyler Salisbery.
The Black Sheep has sanitizing stations for employees and guests around the restaurant, as well as sign reminders to wash hands frequently, which reduces the spread of germs and bacteria. The restaurant closed for two weeks after an employee had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Once we found out someone was positive, we shut down the restaurant for a little while so everyone could get tested and quarantine as well,” Salisbery said. “We always encourage testing and getting tested with our staff.”
Like many UW-Whitewater students working in the food industry, senior Jacklyn Smith is a server who tested positive for COVID-19.
“The minute that we suspected that I might have COVID, I went home right away. They shut down the restaurant so it could get thoroughly cleaned and sanitized so it was safe for the rest of the staff and guests,” said Smith.
More ways The Black Sheep keeps their employees and guests safe is by sanitizing tables and drink menus. It now uses disposable dinner menus and no reused glassware.
“We get tested every time there is a risk of one of us being positive of COVID. I think since I have worked here, I have gotten tested three or four times,” said junior and cook Jalen Whipple. “On top of that, if we show any symptoms or have any known ones, we are not allowed to come in. We get tested, wait for the negative results and for symptoms to go away.”
The Black Sheep will continue to hold a high standard for health and safety while operating during the pandemic. It sets an example for other businesses, that putting people first doesn’t mean a profit loss.