A Cable-area bar, Ammo’s Evergreen Tavern closed for 24 hours Thursday for a “deep bleach cleaning of everything in the building” after an employee tested positive for coronavirus.
The bar posted a Facebook notice Friday that said the employee would not return to work for two weeks. A follow-up test showed the employee was negative.
A reporter’s voicemail message left at Ammo’s seeking comment was not returned.
Bayfield County Health Officer Sara Wartman would not confirm if an employee had tested positive for COVID-19 but did confirm the tavern had been contacted about a “high” exposure there.
“The business closed down immediately and they were able to work with my environmental health sanitarian over what those cleaning stipulations would be, commonly-touched surfaces, bathrooms, anywhere where there could have been potential exposure was discussed,” Wartman said, “And once they had done those things, they were able to open back up” the following day.
Wartman said her department placed no restrictions on the tavern regarding its operations, but asked it to follow the best practices for COVID-19.
“We are asking our establishments to do social distancing or physical distancing of six feet,” she said. “We are asking them to use every other seat, but when it comes to bars and restaurants, it is not illegal if they don’t comply. It’s not breaking the law, but it certainly not best practices right now. We do ask them to follow the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation or WEDC re-open guidelines, but not all establishments are necessarily following those guidelines 100%.”
As COVID-19 cases have exploded in the Bay Area in recent weeks, Bayfield County has created a new link on its website, www.bayfieldcounty.org/COVID to help keep the public informed of where COVID-19 exposures in public places might have occurred. The intent is to keep residents informed because the health department is not always able to contact everyone who might have been in a public area at a specific place and time when they might have been exposed to the virus.
“We can’t notify 100% of people who have been to a bar or restaurant,” Wartman said. “If we can, we will try to, and avoid having to release these establishment’s names publicly, but that will not be the case 100% of the time. “
The “community exposure” link offers the name of a business or location, the level of exposure that occurred there and the date and time of the exposure.
Ammo’s Evergreen Tavern is listed as “high” with the exposure occurring July 13 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on July 14 from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m.
Two other establishments are listed with “low” exposure: Morty’s Pub in Bayfield from July 9 and Clam Lake Junction Store on July 14.
A “low” level of exposure means there had been a positive patient at the business but the risk of contacting COVID-19 is low or similar to community spread that is occurring in the larger community.
A “moderate” level means there had been a positive at the location and there is a moderate risk of getting COVID. Those exposed should monitor their condition for symptoms and if symptoms develop, they should be tested, but quarantining is not suggested if there are no symptoms.
A “high” level of exposure means there is a “significant risk of contracting COVID-19” for a person who has been “at this location during a specific day and/or time period,” and those exposed should quarantine at home and contact their public health department for “follow-up instructions.”