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Several bars and restaurants close following La Crosse Co. COVID surge

(WEAU)
Published: Jun. 19, 2020 at 5:27 PM CDT
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The La Crosse County Health Department announced 25 new positive COVID-19 cases Friday afternoon for a total of 220.

Along with the case increase, La Crosse County is also seeing the closure of several local bars and restaurants.

"It's a bummer that we're closing about a week after reopening, but this is the right choice for us," said Haley Allen, the administrative coordinator for La Crosse Distilling Co.

The surge in COVID-19 cases have led to not-so-good news for Karla Grekoff. She owns the Chances R bar on Jay Street in La Crosse that had just reopened last Thursday.

"The first night we were pretty busy," said Grekoff. "The next couple nights were not as busy, but they were pretty decent and then as soon as all the cases started popping up it was really quiet."

The La Crosse County Health Department says the risk of the virus spreading has jumped up--from high, back to severe.

As a result, it's recommending bars and restaurants go back to curbside pickup and delivery only, something the La Crosse Distilling Company is adhering to.

They've closed its tasting room to in-person customers and they're not alone.

"It's important to us as a local restaurant to play our part in flattening the curve of this current pandemic," Allen said.

The Crow, Brothers, Broncos, and Animal House are several other bars making the decision to close after six bars were named as locations for potential exposure by the health department Monday.

While the closures last time were mandated by a Safer-At-Home order, local bar owners say making the decision themselves this time came down to protecting their employees and the community.

"My bartenders are like my kids, so its just kind of that mama protection mode kicks in," Grekoff explained. "I would feel horrible if someone came in and got sick and we just stayed open."

"It's pretty fantastic to work for a business that cares about their staff and their customers equally as much to make sure that we're safe and healthy," Allen added.

While the Distilling Co. and Chances R were open all staff wore masks, sanitization increased, and social distancing was implemented.

Chances only used plastic cups to avoid cross-contamination.

While doors are closing, the message from businesses remains the same.

"Support your local restaurants using their curbside carryout services, purchasing giftcards, if they have the opportunity for pickup for merchandise," Allen said.

Both establishments will be closed for at least two weeks before re-assessing the situation.

The La Crosse County Health Department released the following announcement Friday afternoon: 

We issue public notifications when we have:

• Unconnected, positive COVID-19 cases linked to a common place
• All close contacts (closer than 6 feet for 15+ minutes) cannot be identified and there is still a risk to the public

If you visited any of these places during this time frame, we recommend you stay home for 14 days after the date you went. You likely have been exposed to COVID-19.

Please fill out this form, which will help you determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19: https://hipaa.jotform.com/201675636779167

• Animal House (La Crosse) : 6/16
• Legends/Twisted Moose (La Crosse): 6/5-6/7 and 6/13
• Brothers Bar (La Crosse): 6/5-6/7 and 6/13
• Howie's (La Crosse): 6/8, 6/10, and 6/12
• Pettibone Public Beach (La Crosse): 6/5-6/7 and 6/11
• Blue Moon (Onalaska): 6-5/6/7, 6/10, and 6/13
• La Crosse Queen (La Crosse): 6/9 and 6/10
• T.J. Maxx (Onalaska): 6/8-6/10
• Planet Fitness (Onalaska): 6/8 and 6/10 5:30-7:30PM
• Broncos (La Crosse): 6/5-6/7
• The Crow (La Crosse): 6/5-6/7
• The Library Bar (La Crosse): 6/5-6/7

If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, we recommend reaching out to your healthcare provider directly to be tested for COVID-19.

*Please note, this is not a list of outbreaks. You can view those on our website at: lacrossecounty.org/covid19

We have community spread in La Crosse County. Please remember to stay home if you have any symptoms of COVID-19, wear a fabric face covering, stay at least 6 feet from others, and wash your hands frequently.