Free COVID-19 testing offered for those who attended OMB’s Mecktoberfest, participants urged to get tested

'Mecktoberfest' patrons urged to get tested

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Mecklenburg County Public Health Director Gibbie Harris says a fall event at a Charlotte brewery us linked to a number of positive COVID-19 cases, and people who attended should consider getting tested.

Gibbie Harris says Olde Mecklenburg Brewery’s Mecktoberfest, which was attended by thousands, is linked to coronavirus. Harris stopped short of calling it a cluster. Harris recommended that anyone who attended the event should seek COVID-19 testing.

The Charlotte Observer reports two coronavirus cases have been connected to the event so far that featured “very few masks” and “very little social distancing,” Harris told county commissioners during their meeting Tuesday. “There were thousands of people there. Those folks need to be tested,” Harris said.

Now, Public Health officials say they will offer free COVID-19 testing for Mecktoberfest attendees and anyone who needs to be tested this Saturday, Oct. 10 from 8 a.m.-11 a.m. at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery (4150 Yancey Road).

Please bring ID & insurance card (if you have them).

WBTV reached out to owner John Marrino but he never responded. Instead an employee emailed WBTV a statement that did not directly address the claims made by county health officials.

“OMB has always and will continue to work diligently to ensure that we comply with and adhere to all county, state and national health regulations and recommendations. It is also perhaps the easiest place in town to enjoy a beer or a meal with friends while social distancing. If you are not sure and would like to see what a safe and enjoyable place OMB is we encourage you to visit and see for yourself,” the statement read.

On the brewery’s website, it says they are in compliance with the latest statewide mask mandate and ask that guests who aren’t at their table to wear masks inside. Guests are also asked to wear masks when ordering beer and food, both inside and outside.

“Plenty of space and obsessive cleanliness have been enduring hallmarks of the OMB experience since the beginning here,” the brewery’s website reads.

On Tuesday, Harris released guidance on what residents should do to stay safe on Halloween.

During a Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners meeting Harris said that the list was in collaboration with the CDC and would be distributed more widely in the coming days.

Most notably, there is no guidance to not participate in trick or treating but the list does provide helpful information for doing so safely.

DO

  • Carve pumpkins and decorate your home with your family; drive around and check out your neighbor’s decorations as well
  • Host a virtual Halloween costume party -Make individually wrapped candy available or individually wrapped goodie bags
  • Wash your hands before and after preparing bags
  • Space out candy or goodie bags in a safe place outside, preferably 6 feet from your door -Wear your favorite costume and a cloth face covering to your favorite socially distancing restaurant with your family
  • Make and enjoy your favorite fall beverage and foods at home with your family -Create a scavenger hunt in your yard for your own children
  • Wear your favorite costume and have a Halloween movie night with your family.

DON’T

  • Host or attend large neighborhood pumpkin carving or block parties, haunted houses or festivals
  • Host or attend crowded costume parties or events -Participate in traditional trick-or-treating in crowded areas, self-selecting candy, or touching of candy or candy dishes
  • Go to crowded bars or restaurants that are not adhering to capacity limits, mask wearing or other COVID-19 safety guidance
  • Ask the bartender for a drink after 11PM
  • Host “trunk” or treat events
  • Substitute a Halloween costume mask for a face covering or exchange masks or coverings with anyone else.

Harris did not say these are hard and fast rules or that there would be any violations for not following the guidelines.

Last month, several coronavirus cases were linked to breweries in neighboring Cabarrus County.

Cabarrus County health officials investigated eight virus cases connected to a Kannapolis brewery. The Cabarrus Health Alliance says the cases were linked to Old Armor Beer Company.

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