The owner of a Santa Fe business who interacted with Idris Elba mere days before the actor tested positive for COVID-19 tells SFR he has tested negative for the virus.

Rand Cook of The Candyman Strings & Things says his first reaction was one of sheer relief, but that it's ultimately tempered by the way the virus is impacting the community.

"I'm negative, that's the first problem solved, now what's the next problem? What's the next thing I have to do for myself, my employees, my business, society?" Cook says. "My excitement is there, certainly, but now it's like, what's the next step?"

Cook tells SFR that the moment when heard the news about Elba, who was had been filming in New Mexico, he shuttered his business and sent his staff home. SFR first reported the story on March 16.

Other than Cook, however, none had a close quarters interaction with Elba but, he says, it was important to take the situation as seriously as possible. Still, he adds, things are looking brighter for the entire Candyman staff.

"In our conversations with the Department of Health, the type of interactions we had, they said, were low-risk," Cook explains. "We're now at 13 out of 14 days [of the staff self-isolating], and nobody has any symptoms."

It's unclear when the Candyman will reopen, but like countless non-essential businesses across Santa Fe and even across the world, it will remain closed until Cook is given the all-clear.

Elba visited the Candyman and later said he has COVID-19.
Elba visited the Candyman and later said he has COVID-19. | Harald Krichel / Wikimedia Commons

The Candyman turned 50 in September. In addition to musical instrument sales, consignment and repairs, the shop also offers lessons in myriad instruments, as well as rock camp activities for youths.

Cook told SFR the day the store closed that he and the staff are forming a plan for next steps, "Let's all be really patient with each other. These are frightening times, but we're all in this together."

Elba, who had been in New Mexico working on a Jay-Z-produced Netflix original movie, posted his personal health on Twitter, noting "I feel OK, I have no symptoms so far." It's not clear where the actor is isolated.