Peak Thai owners Charine and Ronaldo Socan. Picture: Peter Cronin
Peak Thai owners Charine and Ronaldo Socan. Picture: Peter Cronin

COVID closure could be ‘last nail in coffin’ for restaurant

THE owner of a family-run restaurant which has closed its doors after a positive COVID-19 case ate there on Sunday night said the move could be the "last nail in the coffin" after a difficult year.

It is all due to the actions of two teenage girls who tested positive to the virus after returning from Melbourne, which has been labelled as "deceitful and deceptive and quite frankly criminal" by Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll.

Peak Thai, which is owned by Charine and Ronaldo Socan, did not open for business yesterday after being informed by Queensland Health on Tuesday night that a positive case had been at their business from 6.30pm on Sunday.

The restaurant at Orion shopping centre in Springfield was particularly busy that night, Mr Socan said.

Although they were permitted to open up again today, the Socans made the decision not to.

About a third of their workforce was instructed to go into self-isolation as they were on shift that day but Mr Socan said all of his staff would now isolate themselves to be on the safe side.

"We basically told everybody, not just the people who were told to get tested, let's get tested and do the isolation and be on the safe side," he said.

"We were instructed if people were at work they had to go into self isolation.

"Unfortunately that included the two chefs, our floor manager and my wife, who is the head chef.

Cars line up to get tested at the fever clinic set up in Orion shopping centre.
Cars line up to get tested at the fever clinic set up in Orion shopping centre.

"We are left with a skeleton crew. We thought it was best to keep it closed until the staff are medically cleared and we also thought it's safer for everybody in the community.

"We are really worried. It's a bit scary to think we could easily be contributing to the spread and we don't want that. I think it's the right choice."

Mr Socan it could be a "devastating" decision in a difficult year for the hospitality industry but believed he had made the right call for his family and community.

He said without strong backing from customers when they do reopen, it would be hard for them to stay in business.

They are hoping to reopen on August 9 but it could be further down the track than that.

"Like everybody else we've gone through a very tough time and this last incident could be the last nail in the coffin so to speak," Mr Socan said.

"It's no fault of ours. This is a big sacrifice for us.

"We have a number of staff who also rely on this and the guys would also lose their jobs.

"This is really hurting us.

"If we don't have the community support when we reopen, we could lose the restaurant."

Establishing a Thai restaurant was a dream for Ms Socan and she was called into work on Sunday because it was a busier night than usual.

The married couple opened the restaurant in September 2016.

"She went in because they needed help with takeaways so she came in to relieve some staff," Mr Socan said.

"It was quite busy for a Sunday. Traditionally it's OK, but it was very busy (that night).

"The business is built around (Ms Socan) in terms of wanting to do something for her that she loves doing.

"Looking at the (support from customers on Facebook) is really encouraging."