A popular Minneapolis restaurant is briefly closing to disinfect after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
The Freehouse, located at 701 Washington Ave. N in the North Loop, found out about a member of the kitchen staff testing positive for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, prompting the Blue Plate Restaurant Company-owned establishment to shut things down for cleaning.
"Last night we learned that a kitchen team member who works at The Freehouse has tested positive for COVID-19. We knew this day would come and are now enacting our COVID-19 Preparedness Plan," the restaurant announced Thursday on Facebook.
The kitchen staff did not make contact with customers, The Freehouse said.
The Freehouse will be closed all day Thursday, and currently plans to reopen at 11 a.m. Friday. The company's preparedness plan includes:
1. Closure of the restaurant for 24 hours for disinfecting, including the use of hospital grade disinfectants to sanitize all critical and non-critical surfaces that can potentially host a pathogen/virus.
2. We have contacted the Minnesota Department of Health and are following guidelines provided for this incident.
3. All employees in contact with this person have been sent home and recommended to self quarantine.
4. We have assembled a team of non-impacted employees from our restaurant group to staff The Freehouse when we re-open on Friday, July 3 at 11 a.m.
The incubation period for COVID-19 is 2-14 days, according to the CDC. That means that any co-worker who was in contact with the infected employee should self-isolate for two weeks, per CDC and Minnesota Department of Health guidance.
Numerous eateries in Minnesota have experienced similar situations and had to close temporarily to disinfect, while a handful of bars have been identified by the state health department as sites of COVID-19 outbreaks.
Rounders Sports Bar & Grill and The 507, both in Mankato, are linked to more than 200 cases, and The Kollege Klub and Cowboy Jacks, both in Minneapolis, have been connected to upwards of 100 cases. The Pickled Loon in St. Cloud has also been linked to more than three-dozen COVID-19 cases.
The outbreaks at the bars came in the first few weeks of Minnesota bars and restaurants being allowed to serve customers at a 50 percent capacity after being banned from doing so for nearly three months by Gov. Tim Walz's stay-at-home orders.