'We're going to be on edge': Raleigh couple worried about possible COVID-19 exposure at Fayetteville Hardee's

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- An employee at a Hardee's fast-food restaurant in Fayetteville has tested positive for COVID-19, leaving many people who ate there recently feeling uneasy.

The Cumberland and Harnett County Health Departments made the announcement early Friday morning, stating it was a Harnett County resident who worked at the Gillespie Street location.

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Belinda Speight is a Raleigh-based registered nurse. She said her husband had been a frequent customer at that specific location the last three weeks because he was working on a playground project nearby.

Health officials said the employee worked during these periods of time:

  • March 27, 5 a.m. - 3:45 p.m.
  • March 28, 5 a.m. -6 p.m.
  • March 30, 9 a.m. - 6:30 p.m.
  • March 31, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
  • April 1, 5 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
  • April 2, 5 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • April 3, 5 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.
  • April 4, 5 a.m. - 10:30 p.m.
  • April 7, 8:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Belinda says her husband, Todd, had eaten three, maybe four of those time periods, based on credit card activity they looked up.

"It was just like such a shock how careful we've been and trying our best to avoid any situation where we would be exposed," Belinda said.

The Raleigh resident said Todd went through the drive-thru but constantly took precautions: washing his hands, using hand sanitizer after the exchange of his credit card, and even disinfecting his card with each use.

Now, the couple wants to know what the employee's role was at the restaurant.

"Did this person make the food?" Belinda added.

What makes matters worse is that Belinda suffers from an auto-immune disease, meaning she's constantly taking immune suppressant medication.

In light of the pandemic, she's been unable to work at the hospital and has tried her best to avoid contact with others or even making trips to the grocery store.

Thankfully, Belinda said her husband is not experiencing any symptoms, but it's something they'll both be on the lookout for in the coming days.

"We'll just be watching for the next two weeks for symptoms, looking out for any symptoms. I'm sure we're going to be on edge even more so than we have been," Belinda said.

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ABC 11 reached out to the Hardee's franchisee operator for comment. A spokesperson responded saying they closed down the location on Thursday to conduct a deep clean and thorough disinfection process.

In addition, the company has asked all employees that have worked there to self-quarantine and look out for COVID-19 symptoms. They went on to say, "We are keeping the infected employee in our prayers".

Here is the full statement:

April 10, 2020 - Hardee's franchisee operator Boddie-Noell Enterprises temporarily closed our Hardee's location at 2309 Gillespie St. in Fayetteville after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus. Our company, in cooperation with the county health department, closed the restaurant on Thursday to have a third party company conduct a deep clean and thorough disinfection process. The restaurant has now reopened and none of our other Hardee's locations in the Fayetteville area have been affected. The company has directed our employees at the restaurant to self quarantine to prevent spread of the virus. All of our Hardee's locations have been undergoing enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures for several weeks and our employees have undergone enhanced training on sanitation, cleanliness and personal protection. These employees have also been instructed to closely monitor their own health for any sign of possible illness. We will continue to cooperate with the local health department and follow their recommended guidelines. Our primary concern at this time is for the safety and wellness of our employee as well as all co-workers and our guests. We are keeping the infected employee in our prayers.

Rick Rountree

spokesperson on behalf of Hardee's franchise operator Boddie-Noell Enterprises

If you were at this restaurant during the following times above, health officials recommend you stay home and isolate yourself from others if you start having fever, coughing, or shortness of breath.
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