[UPDATE: Mortimer's owner Jasha Johnston announced Wednesday night that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The bar will stay closed at least several more days. Other staffers tested in recent days came back negative. "As all of you know who watch me work, I am an adamant hand washer and mask-wearer," Johnston said on Facebook, adding that he is not feeling ill. "I have worked under the assumption that it was always a possibility to have, and was careful not to potentially spread it."]
Minneapolis’ storied Wedge neighborhood bar, restaurant and live music venue Mortimer’s has shut down for at least two days out of precaution after two people who were inside it last week tested positive for COVID-19.
“We are having our staff tested as a precautionary measure and will reopen as soon as we get the results and the ‘all clear,’” a post on Mortimer’s Facebook page reads, with comments underneath it from patrons applauding the bar’s preemptive and open tactics.
The beloved vintage hangout -- at the corner of Lyndale and Franklin avenues -- could reopen as soon as Thursday if the staff all tests negative. It’s not clear who the two people are that tested positive or what their condition is. They were reportedly there last Thursday (July 9).
"Thank you to the person that called us and let us know so that we could take the appropriate measures," the bar added in its message.
Mortimer’s reopened as a restaurant under 50-percent-capacity guidelines on June 10. Among its stringent post-quarantine rules was a requirement that all patrons and staff wear masks. It has also refrained from hosting live music again since the lockdown ended.
“We don’t want to put performers at risk or attempt to try to police a crowd in what is already a fairly small room,” manager Alex Walsh said around the time of the reopening.
Surrounded by a newly built apartment building and other recent development, Mortimer’s was likely saved from the wrecking ball in late-2017 when Jasha Johnston and Carrie McCabe-Johnston -- the owners of Nightingale restaurant, Tilt Pinball Bar and now also Dusty’s Bar – bought the funky old hangout and added a new menu, pinball and a live music room.
A show of love for the place from the music community, local rock band the 4onthefloor is planning to issue a fundraiser T-shirt in honor of Mortimer’s next month, after also releasing similar T's for Dusty’s in May and Palmer’s Bar this month.
Here's the Facebook post that shows how precautious the bar was upon its reopening last month: