Listen to Austin 360 Radio

Franklin Barbecue in Austin closes temporarily following employees' positive COVID-19 tests

Matthew Odam
Austin 360

Restaurants across the country have been closing in recent days as COVID cases are once again on the rise, with the very contagious Omicron variant potentially putting a major wrinkle in many people's holiday plans. 

Franklin Barbecue became one of the first high-profile Austin restaurants to be affected by the recent surge. The barbecue restaurant posted on Instagram Monday night that it was closing through the weekend following positive COVID-19 tests from multiple employees.

Restaurant co-founded Aaron Franklin said about 1/3 of his staff had tested positive for COVID-19, leaving the restaurant with too few employees to make it through the week of service. The restaurant hopes to reopen Tuesday. 

The lines returned Franklin Barbecue (seen here in March 2020) in November, but they will disappear once again this week, as the restaurant has closed following positive COVID-19 tests from multiple employees at the restaurant.

More:Officials announce first case of COVID-19 omicron variant in Williamson County

"Everyone is full vaxed and most are boosted," Aaron Franklin told the American-Statesman of his employees. "Thank goodness they are! All symptoms are mild. I can't believe how fast that spread within the restaurant."

Franklin Barbecue had moved to takeout only during the pandemic, only reopening its dining room November 23. 

Japanese restaurant Kome, which is open only for takeout until February, announced Saturday that it had closed temporarily due to positive tests with staff. The restaurant had intended to reopen Monday, but posted an update Monday saying that it remained closed until it could staff up appropriately. 

Health officials on Monday recorded 3,086 people in the hospital for COVID-19 statewide, according to the American-Statesman

"Coronavirus data and hospital trends for COVID-19 released Monday indicated that health officials would keep the community threat level at Stage 3," the American-Statesman reported Monday. Adding that "the community transmission rate, which tracks new cases per 100,000 people over seven days, was 113.6 on Monday. Stage 3 territory is when the rate is between 10 and 49."

At least one restaurant in the city has closed its doors preemptively in hopes of avoiding virus spread. East Austin Korean restaurant Oseyo posted just before Franklin Barbecue that it was closing through Sunday in hopes of avoiding the surge.

More:Austin Regional Clinic testing COVID-19 vaccine designed to target variants

"We’re taking a pause this week. given the recent surge of COVID cases — and how contagious the new strain is — we’re committed to protecting our team and want to minimize Oseyo’s role in potential community spread," owner Lynn Miller wrote on Instagram. "We look forward to re-opening next week with additional protocols to support the safety of everyone who enters the space. We’ll see you soon."