Delta County bars choose to close after potential COVID-19 exposure

Bars from both in Gladstone and Escanaba
Published: Jul. 23, 2020 at 7:01 PM EDT
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GLADSTONE, Mich. (WLUC) - Kipling bar was eager to open ITS doors after the shutdown.

“Everything was going real well. Business was picking up again and then we were notified that we had a gentleman in there that was tested positive with COVID-19,” said Dave Phalen, Kipling Bar co-owner.

The bar was contacted by a few people saying a customer had tested positive for coronavirus, so the bar decided to close its doors – which was not a requirement from Public Health.

The day after Kipling Bar closed, the man who tested positive contacted the bar to let them know.

“We were never forced to shut down. We made the decision on our own to shut down now,” said Phalen.

“We have not ordered any bar or food service facility or any business for that matter to close down because of COVID-19,” said Mike Snyder, Public Health Delta and Menominee Counties Health Officer.

Phalen says they chose to close because the staff was concerned for the community.

“We’re more concerned with the health of our customers and our employees. The majority of our customers are retired folks. They’re older and they’re the ones that are more susceptible to this disease,” said Phalen.

For now, the bar is only closed for a short time.

“We decided we were going to shut down for two weeks to see if maybe these cases would decrease in numbers. But my wife and I talked about it and if the numbers continue to increase in our local area that we will continue to be shut down,” said Phalen.

And Delta Menominee Public Health has not seen a need to release potential exposure sites.

“However, there are situations if they arise that we would and that includes if there was an ongoing threat to the public health. So, if there was an outbreak associated with a certain location,” said Snyder.

But Kipling Bar is not the only bar to close – five other Delta County bars have closed.

“Congratulations to all the bars that have done this. None of them were forced to shut their doors. But it shows that we as Yoopers have a strong commitment to our community and we do genuinely care and we don’t need to be forced to shut down,” said Phalen.

Other bars to close include Mugshots, Chenier’s Reef, Ore House, Swallow Inn and South City Pub.

Copyright 2020 WLUC. All rights reserved.

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