DULUTH – Several bars are voluntarily shutting down in Superior as new COVID-19 cases spike there, and a Duluth restaurant is temporarily closing after one of its employees tested positive for the virus.
“We have had an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 visit our establishment in the last two weeks,” the Tipsy Beaver tavern in Superior told patrons on Facebook. “We have done the only thing we can and temporarily closed our doors to properly clean and disinfect our Tipsy Beaver.”
There were 33 confirmed cases in Douglas County as of Thursday, said public health officer Kathy Ronchi, as new infections grow from about one a week to one or more per day.
“Our guidance has not changed, it’s the behaviors of people when they go into public places,” she said. “People are not making good choices, and that’s a concern to me.”
Both sides of the bay had seen new cases stall in June, even in the weeks after businesses suddenly reopened in Wisconsin and as restrictions were more gradually eased in Minnesota.
With the country now seeing its highest daily case totals as the virus spreads with unprecedented speed, the region’s tentative return to normal life is being tested.
“We’ve gotten complaints from people saying this bar was packed, that bar was packed, and people want me to hold businesses responsible,” Ronchi said, adding that with voluntary closures that has not been necessary so far. “People are not social distancing. That is the biggest challenge.”
Cases in Douglas County, while still few, are growing at their fastest rate since the virus was first detected in the northwest corner of the state on March 15.
St. Louis County has seen its own spike in cases, especially in those 20-29 years old. On Thursday another five cases were added, bringing the total to 174 known infections. There were 158 confirmed cases on Monday.
“We’re sort of sliding back a little bit, and I think we can recognize we all know what we need to do as a community,” Amy Westbrook, the county’s public health director, said Wednesday. “We all did it, in the spring. It’s a matter of changing community norms.”
Duluth’s upscale Lake Avenue Restaurant and Bar announced Wednesday it would close after an employee tested positive. The Canal Park eatery had reopened on June 21.
“We are focusing right now on ensuring that the rest of our employees get tested,” the restaurant wrote on Facebook. “We also urge you to protect your health by wearing a mask, wash your hands, continuing to practice social distancing, and stay safe.”