13 Restaurant Staffers Are Quarantining After Working a Trump Campaign Event
Murray's is an iconic 74-year-old steakhouse in downtown Minneapolis, and perhaps as well-known for its impeccable service as it is for its signature "Silver Butter Knife Steak." On its website, the Minnesota institution brags that it has over "1,000 Google reviews," and the majority of them involve five stars.
A number of recent reviewers have mentioned the steps that Murray's staff have taken to ensure that dine-in guests feel safe and comfortable during their meals. "They were very conscientious about social distancing which was appreciated," one customer wrote last week. "[Our server] was masked, courteous, attentive [and] social distanced," another added.
So perhaps it's not surprising that Murray's has asked thirteen of its staff members to quarantine after they catered a Lake Minnetonka fundraiser that President Donald Trump attended just one day before he tested positive for coronavirus. According to the Associated Press, the staffers were sent to work at the home of Marty Davis, the president and CEO of Cambria, a quartz countertop manufacturer.
About 40 of the presidents' supporters paid $200,000 per couple, or $100,000 per person to attend the event. "Our staff was there to work the party only and at no point did any staff come in close proximity to the president," Murray's wrote in a statement. "Upon learning of the president's positive COVID-19 test, we immediately enacted a 14-day quarantine for all staff who worked the party. Additionally, each staff member who worked the party will be tested for COVID-19." (A spokesperson for the restaurant also confirmed that Murray's is still open for business as usual.)
One attendee told the AP that all of the guests were tested before they were allowed to enter Davis' home, and that no one was allowed to get that close to the president. "We got to have our photos taken with President Trump but we weren't next to him, we were 6 to 8 feet away from him," she said, adding that the event was "pretty top shelf."
As of this writing, the staff members who worked a fundraiser for the president, held at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey have not been asked to quarantine. That event was held last Thursday, one day after his appearance in Minnesota—and just a few hours before he received his positive test result.
More than 200 campaign supporters paid as much as $250,000 to have a buffet lunch and a slice of pumpkin cheesecake as they listened to President Trump speak. Some attendees told ABC News that their tables were spaced six feet apart and that none of them had close contact with the president.
On Monday, New Jersey governor Phil Murphy told reporters that his administration will investigate whether the event violated an executive order which caps a venue's indoor capacity at a maximum of 150 people, and whether it violated a second order on "communal meals" by serving a buffet-style lunch.
"If you think you've been in touch or in the midst of someone who is COVID-positive, you've got to take yourself off the field," Gov. Murphy said. "This borders on reckless in terms of exposing people."
Nineteen Trump National staffers worked the event. Food & Wine has reached out to the Bedminster club to inquire whether they have been asked to quarantine.