Just a month and a half after it reopened for live music following the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, Bunker's Music Bar & Grill has shut its doors again out of virus-related concerns.

The 45-year-old venue — a mainstay in downtown Minneapolis' North Loop neighborhood long before it was ever trendy — announced its temporary closure Wednesday after three staffers tested positive for COVID-19. Their conditions and vaccine status were not clear.

A couple of the musicians who were due to play this weekend's Stevie Wonder tribute shows at the bar also were thought to have tested positive.

"By the time we found out about the [third staffer], we figured it'd probably be best just to clean house altogether," Bunker's owner and booker James Klein said, noting that the bar was already short-staffed. "Even if we could find [new workers] right away, it'd be hard to train them in right."

Klein is hoping to stay shuttered for only two weeks, instead of the 15 months the venue had previously been closed. Sept. 1 is the target date for reopening.

Bunker's officially reopened July 8 with the emotional homecoming of Dr. Mambo's Combo, the all-star band that played there weekly for 34 years and often brought Prince down on a Sunday or Monday night. The group had lost its longtime guitarist and de facto leader Billy Franze during the lockdown, from probable heart failure.

The Combo's Sunday gigs were followed by new weekly residencies with the International Reggae All Stars on Tuesdays and blues-rocker Dylan Salfer every Wednesday, with other assorted acts over the weekends.

"Things were actually going great," Klein noted with mixed emotions. "I think we'll be fine once we get past this."

The bar owner did not say whether Bunker's will implement further safety guidelines upon reopening, such as a mask mandate or a requirement to show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test. The latter policy has been implemented at many other Twin Cities music venues, including the Cedar Cultural Center and all sites in town operated by First Avenue and Live Nation (including the Palace, Fitzgerald and Varsity theaters as well as the Fillmore, Fine Line and Turf Club).

"Like everyone else, we'll be paying a lot of attention to what happens over the next two weeks in Minnesota," Klein said.

Chris Riemenschneider • 612-673-4658

Twitter: @ChrisRstrib