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Customers at Multiple Traverse City-Area Restaurants and Wineries Advised to Self-Monitor [Updated]

Several members of a group that visited businesses in the area on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19 later tested positive for COVID-19

A woman in a blue dress stares across a grassy lawn in the direction of the stone building and patio at Mari Vineyards.
Mari Vineyards, shown here in 2016, informed patrons on Wednesday, June 24 that visitors to the winery the week prior had tested positive for COVID-19.
Brenna Houck is a Cities Manager for the Eater network. She previously edited Eater Detroit and reported for Eater. You can follow her on the internet at @brennahouck.

Customers who visited any of eight restaurants, bars, and wineries in the Traverse City area are being advised to self-monitor after a group of diners tested positive for COVID-19. The several people from a group touring the Grand Traverse area on Thursday, June 18 and Friday, June 19 later tested positive for the disease, according to an advisory released by the county health department.

A handful of the businesses helped spread the word on Wednesday afternoon. Mari Vineyards, Bower Harbor Vineyards, and Low Bar notified guests of the possible community exposure sites on social media. Thus far, none of the locations listed by the health department appear to have voluntarily closed for cleaning, though several businesses reiterated their fastidious sanitizing procedures and safety practices. None of the businesses are currently tied to any outbreaks.

The full list of businesses and the approximate times of the group’s visits are listed below. Health officials are asking people who visited those businesses around those times to voluntarily self-monitor their symptoms for 14 days:

Thursday, June 18

  • Mari Vineyards: 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Brys Estate Vineyard and Winery: 2 p.m. to 3 p.m.
  • Bowers Harbor Vineyards: 3:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • Amical: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Friday, June 19

  • Hotel Indigo’s rooftop bar: 8 p.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Little Fleet: 9 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  • Low Bar: 10:45 p.m. to 11:30 p.m
  • Kilkenny’s Irish Public House: 11:45 p.m. 1:45 a.m. on Saturday, June 20

“This is a sobering reminder that the virus is still circulating in Michigan and northern Michigan. We need to continue to be vigilant and practice social distancing, wear a mask, and being mindful that this is far from over,” Grand Traverse County health officer Wendy Hirschenberger said in a release. “Just because we have reopened, does not mean we can relax our protective actions. Anyone could have COVID-19 and you might not know because some people with coronavirus are not yet sick, and some never have signs of the disease. I strongly urge everyone to take precautions so that we can keep infections down and keep businesses open.”

The Traverse City area has had one of the lowest case counts in the state during the pandemic. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer initially limited travel during the stay-at-home order to try to prevent tourists from spreading the virus to the less populated regions of the state where hospitals were ill equipped to handle a surge in hospitalizations. The region was one among the first regions permitted to reopen for dine-in service. Some opted to stay closed or continue carryout service, while others chose to reopen over Memorial Day weekend. The adjustments weren’t exactly easy.

Under state guidelines, restaurants and bars are currently allowed to service dine-in customers at 50 percent seating capacity with six feet of social distance between groups. Staff are required to wear face coverings at all times over their nose and mouths, and patrons may remove masks only when seated at their table.

Despite businesses efforts to reduce community spread, restaurants around the country are temporarily closing due to patrons and staff testing positive for COVID-19. Lansing Brewing Co. temporarily closed after a COVID-19 positive individual entered the brewery. Harper’s in East Lansing opted to temporarily close on Monday after a patron visited the bar last week and subsequently tested positive for the virus. There are now at least 34 cases among customers that visited Harper’s.

Update: 12 p.m., Thursday, June 25: The Grand Traverse County Health Department has reduced it’s recommendation from self-quarantine to self monitoring. This article has been updated to reflect that change in recommendation.

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