Corktown bar PJ’s Lager House has temporarily closed after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
The bar disclosed the news on its Facebook page on Sunday, Oct. 18. It recommended that anyone who has been in the bar between Oct. 9–Oct. 12 be tested for the virus. The employee has been placed under quarantine, according to the bar.
PJ’s Lager House will remain closed until all of the bar’s staff has had two negative tests for the virus in a row, according to the announcement. The bar will be selling merchandise in the meantime. “Thanks for your understanding and we hope to reopen safely in the future,” the bar said in the message. The full message is below:
A manager for the restaurant told Eater that the restaurant is following all federal, state, and local guidelines in terms of reporting and deep cleaning, and right now is focusing on isolating everyone and making sure they get tested. The staff member who tested positive is currently not showing symptoms.
The restaurant closed down operations on Tuesday, Oct. 13, after they became aware that a visitor who came to the restaurant on Oct. 9 for a birthday party had tested positive. Since then, four individuals who were at the bar that night, including the bartender, have tested positive, according to owner and operator P.J. Ryder. The bar had conducted temperature checks that night as a preventative measure.
PJ’s will be closed through this week at a minimum, Ryder said. If all staffers have had two “deep swab” negative COVID-19 tests after being tested again later this week, they’ll consider reopening next week at the earliest.
The bar has shut down operations before during the pandemic as a precaution, but those closures did not result in positive tests for staffers, Ryder said.
“We’re trying our best, and we can’t do anything more than what we’re doing. We’re just trying to make sure nothing spreads,” he said.
Under current regulations, when a food service employee gets a positive COVID-19 test, the establishment must prohibit gatherings and undergo a deep cleaning consistent with federal guidance. The worker must isolate, and employers must notify the health department, as well as any coworkers, contractors, or suppliers that may have come into contact with the individual within 24 hours. Contract tracing is not currently required for restaurants.
As of Oct. 17, Michigan had a total of 144,897 coronavirus cases and 7,010 deaths, with 1,791 new cases that day.
Update: This story was updated to include additional details from a bar manager at PJ’s Lager House, and again later to include remarks from the owner.