Dining With Denise Neil

Flu epidemic so bad, it shuts down a Wichita business for the weekend

The flu is bad in Kansas lately – so bad that schools around the state are closing, buses are showing up late and blood donations are down.

Now, restaurants are being affected. One announced on Friday that it’ll have to close for the weekend because so many employees are sick with the flu.

Granted, Verita Coffee Bar at 9414 W. Central isn’t Wichita’s biggest employer, but so many of its staff members are sick with the flu that it couldn’t stay open.

“Turns out almost every one of us are sick with a particularly bad strain of the flu, so we’re closing for the weekend so we can all rest and recoup,” the post read.

Flu season is particularly bad this year, and it’s affecting the whole country. Federal health officials are reporting that nationwide, the level of flu illness is the highest it’s been since the pandemic of 2009-2010. And new Kansas Department of Health & Environment statistics show that the number of doctor’s visits for the flu this week were at a three-year high.

Verita customers said they weren’t upset by the shop’s decision. In fact, many replied thanking the owners for making a sensible decision.

"Thank you for thinking of your employees and customers and not spreading illness by forcing people to come to work like 98 percent of other businesses do,” one wrote. “You guys rock.”

Town and Country, the family restaurant at 4207 W. Kellogg, also is taking precautions.

Its owner announced on Facebook this week that any employees who call in sick are being asked to stay out an extra day, just to be safe.

“Please remember to cover your mouth when you cough and be like the President and wash your hands a lot,” read the restaurant’s post.

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