Those hoping to catch one last meal at Gusto 101 before the chilly autumn nights sweep Toronto’s patio scene will have to wait just a little while longer.
The cozy Italian eatery, popular for its tempting $1/oz. house wines and savoury, wood-fired pizzas with just the right amount of char, has closed its doors until further notice after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
“While we have taken every step possible to ensure your second home here at 101 Portland St. is one where you feel safe to eat, even during the most uncertain of times, it’s on days like today where we are reminded that the world is a hard one for restaurants, the awesome hospitality workers that keep us going, and our wonderful guests that continue to support us when we need it most,” Gusto 101 wrote on Instagram, Sept. 28th.
The employee who tested positive for the virus worked their last shift on Sept. 26th, and is currently quarantining at home.
Though not mandatory, Gusto 101 made the decision to close up shop immediately as a precaution for remaining staff members, and says it will not reopen until it is safe to do so.
View this post on Instagram
As an extra precaution, all Gusto 101 staff are currently in self-isolation, and will not be permitted to return to work until they present proof of a negative COVID-19 test.
The restaurant will also undergo professional sanitization to eradicate the possibility of any surface contamination. Contact tracing details have been shared with Toronto Public Health, and those deemed at-risk will be contacted.
After closing its doors on March 17th amid the pandemic, Gusto 101 opened its outdoor patio on June 26th, and reopened its indoor dining room on July 31st, both with limited seating to accommodate proper social distancing measures.
Prior to both reopenings, Gusto 101 kept a steady stream of customers by finding innovative ways to sell its products, like launching Gusto Marketplace, an online, one-stop-shop for grocery delivery, to those wary of long lines, or crowded grocery stores.
Back in June, the restaurant also announced a partnership with Feed the Frontlines. Made up of several dedicated restaurants and volunteers, Feed the Frontlines saw more than 15,000 meals delivered to healthcare workers, social services staff, and Torontonians facing food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As of now, all food items have been removed from the Marketplace, and customers will not be able to order takeout from popular app services until both the kitchen and establishment get a clean bill of health to reopen.
As COVID-19 cases continue to climb in the city, Toronto has seen several restaurants confirm cases amongst staff and guests in recent weeks, including four additional popular eateries in the King West neighbourhood, which Gusto 101 calls home.
Chubby’s Jamaican Kitchen, which is owned by the Gusto 54 Restaurant Group (the same company that owns Gusto 101), also made the decision to temporarily shut down on Sept. 21st after one of their employees tested positive for COVID-19.
Chubby’s reopened on Sept. 26th, just five days after closing, after receiving confirmation that all remaining team members tested negative for COVID-19, and had not been in close contact with the individual who had tested positive.
While there is no word yet on when Gusto 101 will be up and running again, the staff remains positive that Torontonians will be able to raise a glass of prosecco sooner rather than later.
“We are optimistic that this is an isolated case, as no other team members are experiencing symptoms and rigorous sanitation, social distancing, and mask-wearing procedures were followed,” Gusto 101 concluded.