ROCHESTER, Minn. (FOX 47) -- Nationwide, a surge in coronavirus cases linked to bars. Olmsted County is no different. Because of this, more bars and restaurants are making the decision to close temporarily out of COVID-19 precautions.
Forager Brewery, Legends Bars and Grill and Bitter and Pour all announced they'd be closing for some time; not because they had to, but because they felt it was the right thing to do.
"We wanted to be extra safe and extra cautious in closing," Forager Brewery owner Annie Henderson said.
Forager Brewery made the announcement Saturday on social media, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.
"Seeing the outbreak and the rapid increase in cases, we didn't want to be part of the problem," Henderson continued. The brewery hopes to reopen the patio July 25.
Legends made the same decision, posting to Facebook Saturday morning saying in part: "Although Legends has no known or confirmed cases of staff or customers infected with the virus we feel it's in the public's best interest to close and help stop the spread of COVID-19."
Bitter and Pour followed suit announcing its closure Monday afternoon in effort to stop the spread of the virus. Its Facebook post reading: "We want to emphasize that we have been following all mask and social distancing guidelines and to date, have had ZERO KNOWN staff or customers expose the virus to our environment. We'll continue to monitor the cases reported in our region and will re-evaluate a potential August re-opening date at a later time."
According to county health officials, a restaurant is required to shut down if it has an outbreak of five or more COVID-19 cases. It's name will only be release to the public if an outbreak of seven or more occurs.
"A restaurant might have four people that tested positive for COVID-19 and they don't even have to tell anybody," Henderson said. "So, I feel like its really important at this time for restaurants to be transparent."
Just last week, Olmsted County Public Health recommended anyone who spent time in downtown bars from June 26 to July 7 to get tested for coronavirus. 26 cases were linked back to Dooley's Pub, originally nine cases. The bar has since temporarily closed. 17 cases were traced to a second bar, but because only four cases can be originally linked to the establishment, it doesn't meet Minnesota Department of Health criteria and remains unnamed, at least for now.
"I think everyone needs to think about the greater good, no matter how it makes you look or feel," Henderson said.
Olmsted County Public Health says its team is still collecting information and date from case investigators and contact tracers, which is how they'll make connections to the downtown outbreaks. FOX 47 is told more information should be available in the next day or two.