Coronavirus incident at popular East Falls eatery

Don’t panic – the individual who tested positive at LeBus this May was in management, not food service. They have fully recovered from only a very mild and isolated case of COVID. No further infections have been reported. Big hand to David Braverman and his team for handling this matter swiftly, safely and transparently.

But news of East Falls’ first public encounter with COVID was a hot topic of conversation there for awhile. Beginning on May 16, when a modest handwritten sign on the door of LeBus Restaurant delivered a shocking message to the community: “One of our staff members has tested positive…”

With that first line, many began retracing their steps, trying to recall the last time they ordered takeout, wondering if they’d socially distanced enough & taken proper precaution, if they and their families were at risk.

Neighbors reached out to each other on community Facebook groups, compared notes, expressed their feelings. How transmittable was the virus by takeout food? What about fresh bread? Or from breathing the air in there? How long does the virus live on plastic packaging, again…??

The wild array of comments provides a fascinating peek at community gears in motion thru a potential crisis.

Original Message, image of sign on door:

Dear Community:
One of our staff members has tested positive for COVID-19. Out of an abundance of caution, & a consultation with Penn Medicine, we have decided to close LeBus until Weds 5/20 for deep cleaning & employee testing. We thank our neighborhood for your support and we look forward to returning to work when we’re sure we can do so safely. 

David Braverman, Owner (May 16, 2020)

Connect with neighbors on East Falls Rants


Paula D. Please isolate if traveled there or ate anything from there. They were also selling to a cafe in East Falls. Please be safe and take nothing for granted. check your own tracks.

Suzanne C. Paula D. hi. Do you know which cafe? Ty.

Paula D. Suzanne C. no I cannot remember the name. Maybe The Local knows. You can call your cafe to see if they were selling Le Bus products.

The Local Paula D. We’ll look into it and post here if we find out. I know Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee & Books was selling LeBus sandwiches but they’ve been closed. I believe Thunder Mug Cafe’s pastries come from High Point and a local vegan baker…Terron Kitchen I think is Crust Vegan.

Nika F. I think Vault & Vine has their baked goods

Brandon W. The Local. Thunder Mug Cafe gets our pastries from Au Fournil.

The Local Brandon W. oops sorry! Thank you for the correction. They are delicious, wherever they are from!

Daniella S. Paula D. U seriously saying if i got curbside pickup of breads, cookies and a salad Thursday, I should self-quarantine for 2 weeks? Do not agree. I pretty much isolate already anyway.

Paula D. Daniella S. do what you think is best.

Gerard P. Paula D. I understand your concern but that level of response isn’t necessary. Transmission requires a longer duration of exposure in close quarters. Merely receiving pickup or eating food prepared in the facility isn’t risky.

Elanya M. I think opening on the 20th is too soon

Kevin S. Elanya M. they said after deep cleaning and employee testing, lots of places aren’t closing at all, or even letting customers know if someone tests positive. 

Elanya M. Kevin S. why not wait until the test results comeback? Angelo’s pizza in south Philly had a positive employee and they were extremely transparent.

Kevin S. Elanya M. maybe test results will be back by then. But if you aren’t comfortable, you don’t have to order from them. This notice seems pretty transparent, and I am sure if it turns out to be multiple people, they may stay closed longer.

Denise M. Thank you for sharing! I Love it there: I love their food & now I love their open & willing cooperation, support, & compassion for their own & their neighborhood

Jakita P. Oh shit! I hope that person is doing ok and recovers quickly!

Nika F. We were in there yesterday picking up some bread… Anyone know any more details? We wore masks and washed our hands… But I’m not sure that’s enough

Daniella S. I got a pick-up from there on Friday. I am high risk and this makes me a tad nervous!

Nika F. Daniella S. wish they would give us more info!

Daniella S. Nika F. Agreed. Whatever they say though can’t really help us as we’ve gotten the goods, touched and eaten goods. I usually wipe down anything I buy but stopped doing it when media reported it wasn’t necessary. Now I wish I had wiped down my order of breads, pastry and salad.

Nika F. Daniella S. I’m hopeful that the CDC is right when they say that food and food packaging isn’t a big threat. Just hoping Le bus was taking other precautionary & sanitizing steps.

Sharyn M Aww bummer, I was just there, great danishes! Hope their employee gets well soon.

Donna V Thanks as always for your consideration for your staff and our community. We’ll be here waiting when you reopen.

In response, owner David Braverman quickly addressed the members of East Falls Rants:

Dear Neighbors,
Thank you for your comments. The employee in question had a very mild case and is now fully recovered. Also, the person works in a managerial capacity not food preparation or retail bread sales. Additionally, it has been well established by the medical community and the CDC that the virus has never been found to be transmitted by food.

 The person who contracted the virus has not been in the restaurant since last Sunday.

According to Penn Medicine, the Phila Dept of Health, and federal & state guidelines, all essential businesses that service the community are requested to stay open even if one or more employee tests positive, and are advised to subsequently take the temperature of all employees upon arrival to work and scrupulously follow safety protocols (masks, distancing, hand-washing, limiting customer occupancy).

Nonetheless, we have decided to close until Weds for a deep cleaning and professional sanitizing. Thank you so much for your support. We look forward to getting back to work very soon!

On May 20, LeBus reopened with no further mention online of the situation (and the sign was gone, like a bad dream). Thanks again to LeBus for keeping the community safe and informed.

Order for takeout or delivery here

LeBus East Falls
Ridge & IQL
Fresh bread & free delivery
Curbside pickup, too.

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