COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the bar and restaurant industry. In the past two days, at least six Twin Cities restaurants have announced temporary closures to deep clean and sanitize after at least one employee tested positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Mortimer's Bar & Restaurant, located at 2001 Lyndale Ave. S in Minneapolis, is staying closed "until we figure out a safe plan to move forward," said owner Jasha Johnston, who tested positive for the virus.
"It just got very real over here," wrote Johnston in a post to Mortimer's Facebook page Wednesday night. "As all of you know who watch me work, I am an adamant hand washer and mask wearer. I don’t know if I contracted it at work or elsewhere and I hopefully did not spread it from work as I have worked under the assumption that it was always a possibility to have and was careful not to potentially spread it."
Johnston tested positive after Mortimer's was alerted about two people in the bar on July 9 who had tested positive for COVID-19.
Restauranteur/chef Gavin Kaysen's Bellecour in Wayzata also announced a short-term closure after learning that a staff member tested positive. "This team member has not worked in the building since July 5 and is doing well," Kaysen wrote in a social media post. It's not yet clear when Bellecour will reopen for service.
Two employees tested positive at The Moose on Monroe in Minneapolis. A pull-tab employee and a karaoke host both have confirmed COVID-19 infections, prompting the popular spot to take an "abundance of caution" and close for cleaning while all employees are asked to get tested.
The Moose has not set a specific reopening date.
Another Minneapolis karaoke bar is also temporarily shuttered after a pull-tab employee tested positive. The Vegas Lounge announced Wednesday that it will stay closed through July 24 "to ensure the safety of our employees and our patrons and to deep clean the bar."
In Uptown, Nico's Taco and Tequila Bar said that it'll stay closed "for at least the next few days so employees can self-monitor and seek testing, as well as for extra sanitizing."
All co-workers who had contact with an employee at Graze Provisions + Libations who tested positive after working July 11 have been urged to self-quarantine. The Warehouse District restaurant in Minneapolis says it will be "closed until further notice."
All of those are just a fraction of the bars and restaurants that have temporarily closed in the past couple of months.
The Freehouse in Minneapolis has had two short-term closures in the past few weeks due to COVID-19, and it just reopened for patio service and curbside pickup on Thursday.
"When we re-open, it important to us that everyone dining with us wears a mask in our restaurant unless seated at their table. Please be respectful of our mask policy," a message on The Freehouse Facebook page reads.
The Loop Minneapolis also decided this week that due to the "effects of COVID-19" it has closed its indoor dining option and is only allowing reservations for outdoor seating, in addition to takeout orders.
"We are taking all precautions and safety measures to protect our family and yours. We look forward to fully reopening to serve all of our guests very soon," The Loop Minneapolis announced.