The Pok Pok empire is joining the list of restaurants to close indefinitely as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Five of the Pok Pok restaurants — Pok Pok, Pok Pok NW, and three Pok Pok Wing outposts — had stayed open amid regulations limiting restaurants to takeout and delivery, but in the wake of New York chef Floyd Cardoz’s death, reportedly from COVID-19, owner Andy Ricker has decided to close all of his restaurants for “the duration of the COVID-19 crisis.”
The Pok Pok team had planned to keeping its locations open for takeout and delivery, but the sudden death of Cardoz is a “wake-up call to the restaurant industry” that “we are all vulnerable,” Ricker wrote in an Instagram post mourning the passing of Cardoz and announcing the closure. “The fact is, there is no way to 100% safely deploy a crew of workers to operate a restaurant kitchen for delivery and to go as we have been doing for the last week,” he continued. “By nature, restaurants are close quarter operations.”
He goes on to write about the shortcomings of restaurant precautions and the critical need to take care of his staff’s health and safety, saying:
Though we are trained to work cleanly and with great care to follow health code and have instituted a strict protocol around the pandemic, we are not trained to keep a workplace safe from a deadly virus; that is some trained medical professional shit. I simply cannot bear the thought of one of our team becoming ill for the sake of preparing some chicken wings.
Ricker goes on to urge other restaurants consider the same measures and mentions the relief package agreement that was reached by the federal government earlier today.
- Pok Pok [Official]
- A Number of Restaurants Once Open For Takeout and Delivery Have Closed Last Week [Eater PDX]
- Groundbreaking Chef Floyd Cardoz Dies [Eater NYC]