‘It’s heartbreaking’: Owner of Doug’s Service Center faces challenges after being shut down by health department

Local News

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Doug’s Service Center was shut down in early October after owner Doug Rosencutter tested positive for the coronavirus.

On Monday, he came forward and spoke with the Shawnee County Health Department on how it was working with them.

In order for Rosencutter’s business to reopen, he had to quarantine for 10 days following his positive test per the health department. When his business closed, his employees also had to quarantine for 14 days, although they did not test positive.

Additionally, he had to have his business professionally cleaned at a cost of $1,500, and needed to create a plan as to how he was going to keep his business safe.

“They had no education, no assistance with that whatsoever,” Rosencutter said. “I sent them my plan… and they sent back ‘No, that’s not good enough… we need more.'”

Below is a timeline of the situation, according to Rosencutter:

  • Oct. 2 – Rosencutter tested positive for coronavirus
  • Oct. 5 – Contacted by Shawnee County Health Department
  • Oct. 6 – Shawnee County Sheriff’s Office told Rosencutter he must leave his business and quarantine
  • Oct. 7 – Health department sent a press release, shut down business

Over that time, Rosencutter tried to contact the health department to see how he could reopen his business, but they were not helpful, he said.

This lack of communication is not normal for the health department, as they usually work with businesses to reopen them, according to Dusty Nichols, Shawnee County’s coronavirus incident commander.

“We’re not in a habit of trying to throw local businesses under the bus by any means, or putting anything specific to any business, unless it was a public health issue,” Nichols said.

However, Rosencutter’s business is now facing serious loss.

“My office help, I had to lay the, off because the phone’s not ringing,” Rosencutter said, estimating a loss of $30,000 to $40,000.

The inconsistency of the health department is “disturbing,” said Shawnee County Commissioner Bill Riphahn. The commission asked the health department to provide them with details of Rosencutter’s case, as well as other businesses who were shut down, at their meeting on Monday.

“We can operate with more customer service mindset, and make sure situations like this don’t come back,” said Commissioner Aaron Mays.

That is why Rosencutter decided to tell his struggles, hoping it would save other business owners experiencing the same situation, he said.

“I’ve been in business for 27 years and I’ve never had to deal with anything like this before,” Rosencutter said. “I’ve never had to lay anybody off in 27 years. It’s heartbreaking.”

Doug’s Auto Service has reopened, and Rosencutter’s employees are returning this week. He said he is doing everything he can to keep his customers and staff safe.

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