KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Cabarrus Health Alliance, Cabarrus County’s public health authority, is investigating eight COVID-19 cases linked to Old Armor Beer Company located in downtown Kannapolis.
Health officials are recommending that anyone who visited the Old Armor Beer Company over the last two weeks monitor for COVID-19 symptoms and consider getting a COVID-19 test.
However, the brewery owner is saying that there isn't enough proof to link his bar to the COVID-19 cases.
"We're just at a loss at this point," said Kyle Lingafelt, the general manager at Old Armor Beer Company.
Lingafelt told WCNC Charlotte an employee contracted the virus on Labor Day weekend and hasn't returned to work since. However, he wasn't told about the case until this past weekend.
He believes health officials in Cabarrus County are blasting his business with little to no hardcore proof.
"We don't agree with this," Lingafelt said. "I don't know that this is a fair light on a small business that's trying to make it through COVID when these same people went to other places. They went to other stores. Like how is that a fair assessment?"
Since the pandemic, Lingafelt said all tables are at least six feet apart, masks are given out for free, along with hand sanitizer at tables.
Signage is up around the brewery and capacity is kept below 50%.
"We're doing the right things and we're still getting hit and that's what's tough about this," he added.
Old armor is still open for business, and never closed, Lingafelt confirmed. He said he believes his business is safe and is now warning other breweries that the same could happen to them, even if they are following all the rules.
"It's inevitable. Like you can't avoid it," he said.
Symptoms may include fever, cough and shortness of breath. If you exhibit any of these symptoms, which may develop up to 14 days after exposure, you should self-isolate and contact your primary care provider.
If you do not have a primary care provider, call the CHA Health Information Line at 704-920-1213. Information regarding COVID-19 testing sites and resources is available here.
“The complicated thing about COVID-19 is that people may have no idea they are positive for days before any symptoms appear. With eight confirmed cases within a 14-day window that all identified attending the brewery, public health officials have the responsibility to make the community aware,” shared Dr. Bonnie Coyle, Cabarrus County Public Health Director.
Old Armor Beer Company reports that they are following appropriate safety procedures related to restaurant capacity, cleaning and disinfecting, requiring staff and patrons to wear masks, and table spacing to ensure social distancing. Additionally, the brewery reports that it performed a deep cleaning and that all staff members were encouraged to get tested, to monitor their symptoms, and to comply with CDC guidelines. The brewery said that it considers the health and safety of its patrons to be of the utmost importance.
WCNC Charlotte reached out by email and phone to Dr. Bonnie Coyle, Cabarrus County Public Health Director, but as of 11p.m. on Friday, we had not heard back.