Bars and Restaurants Temporarily Close in Response to Increased COVID-19 Cases in Bemidji
There have been 33 cases of COVID-19 reported in Beltrami County in the past week. Some area bars and restaurants have temporarily closed in response.
Over the weekend alone, six new cases of COVID-19 were reported, and on Monday, four were reported. This is a big change from before the Fourth of July weekend, when it was more typical to see four to five cases over the course of an entire week.
The recent cases have been for the most part mild so far, largely affecting younger people. There is one patient currently hospitalized who is expected to be discharged soon. Meanwhile, health officials say that even those who feel no symptoms will still spread the virus.
With increased young people getting and spreading the virus, some area bars have had close encounters with positive cases. At Keg N’ Cork in downtown Bemidji, they decided to temporarily close their doors. They have used this time to make sure their location is as clean and sanitized as possible.
For Hard Times Saloon owner Mitch Willard, the fact that other bars were coming together to temporarily close made his decision easier. He decided to temporarily close after knowing he had interacted with someone who tested positive and shut down his bar until he got a test for himself and some employees and has heard back that they are negative for the virus.
This is an important way to support the community, but public health officials emphasize that this goes beyond individual businesses making decisions and that it will take the entire community working to slow the spread of COVID-19.
According to Sanford Health, there are over 300 tests pending at the moment and that more new positive cases are anticipated in the future.
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