At least nine Seattle bars closed over the weekend either because a worker had tested positive for COVID-19 or came into contact with an infected person.
The Unicorn on Capitol Hill and Jupiter bar in Belltown each had two vaccinated workers who tested positive for COVID-19, and they immediately closed their doors, each bar’s management team said Tuesday. Owners at both bars say they plan to reopen Friday since the test results for the rest of their staff came back negative. They also plan to invoke new measures to try to keep their patrons safe.
The temporary closures come as King County has seen a spike in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks due to the emergence of the highly infectious delta variant, which led Public Health-Seattle & King County last Friday to recommend that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, wear masks again in public indoor settings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended on Tuesday that people in parts of the U.S. with surging COVID-19 infection numbers should resume wearing masks indoors.
Unicorn bar owner Adam Heimstadt said he didn’t think local health officials went far enough with just a mask suggestion. When his Capitol Hill bar reopens Friday, Heimstadt will require all patrons to show the doorman their COVID-19 vaccine card along with ID to drink at his bar. “I wish this was a mandate for all bars,” he said. “We need to all join together to require a vaccine card. It’s the only way. If some place does not do it, the people are just going to go to that bar and possibly get someone sick.”
“It’s just a big bummer,” Heimstadt said. “We all want to get out of this pandemic.”
(Another popular bar on Capitol Hill, The Doctor’s Office recently posted on Facebook that starting on August 1, it will require “proof of full vaccination or a negative test within 48” hours for entry.)
In Belltown, Jupiter bar owner Joey Nix said he will only reopen at 50% capacity and bring back the plastic shield he had previously used to separate customers from anyone working behind the bar counter. One of his bartenders and a doorman tested positive for COVID-19 last week even though both were vaccinated. Both only had mild symptoms, management said. Nix is also considering enforcing proof of vaccination for entry.
In the other seven cases, the bars temporarily shut down either because they had one employee test positive or come into contact with someone who did. Those temporary closures included Rumba and Inside Passage on Capitol Hill, Shorty’s in Belltown, Bar Harbor in South Lake Union, Holy Mountain Brewing in Interbay, The Masonry in Uptown and The Masonry in Fremont.