Eight restaurants and cafes across Bar Harbor have announced temporary closings due to positive COVID-19 cases among three employees in the tight-knit industry.
Only two of the businesses — Blaze Restaurant and Galyn’s Restaurant — have said they’ve had employees test positive for the virus. Others are shutting their doors for varying lengths of time because personnel interacted with positive cases.
The closings represent a harsh blow to Bar Harbor’s tourism-fueled economy and comes amid rising COVID-19 cases in Hancock County — active cases doubled from 17 on Thursday to 34 on Sunday, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
They are far from the first eateries hurt by the pandemic: Maine’s hospitality industry will lose $1 billion in taxable revenue in 2020, according to an industry report released last month.
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On Sunday night, Blaze said it would be closed through Tuesday after two employees tested positive for COVID-19. The restaurant said it had been more than a week since each employee had been inside the restaurant.
Blaze said it was not asked to close by any state or municipal authority but wanted to halt operations out of an abundance of caution. It said staff was in contact with the Maine CDC and that the restaurant may use employees from other locations to reopen.
“We felt it very necessary to press the pause button, interview our staff, absorb more guidance from the CDC, regroup,” the restaurant said in a statement on Facebook. “Staff members are being tested, and then after all that, we’ll have a plan to reopen.”
On Nov. 2, Galyn’s Restaurant announced they would be closing until the spring, though it initially did not provide a reason for the closure. Owner Gail Leiser told News Center Maine that it closed due to a staff member testing positive for the virus and rising COVID-19 numbers in Maine.
Several other restaurants in Bar Harbor without positive COVID-19 tests also announced closures on Sunday, most due to staff having interacted with someone who tested positive.
On Sunday morning, Side Street Cafe said that a staff member may have interacted with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. The cafe said it would be closed until it received confirmation of a negative test result. As of Tuesday morning, it had not posted any updates.
Atlantic Brewing Co. said it would close its midtown location on Cottage Street on Sunday after a staff member was “potentially exposed” to the virus.
Leary’s Landing Irish Pub said it would close as it awaited a staff member’s COVID-19 test. The staff member had “possible contact” with someone confirmed to have the virus, the restaurant said.
On Sunday afternoon, The Dog and Pony Tavern said it was temporarily closing because one employee might have been in contact with someone “requiring a [COVID-19] test.”
Also on Sunday afternoon, Pat’s Pizza said it would close until Wednesday due to “possible virus exposure.”
Amid multiple COVID-19 cases across Hancock County, on Sunday the Choco-Latte Cafe said it would close until Nov. 20 or 21 because staff members had interacted with other local restaurant employees who had tested positive. Havana Restaurant published an identical statement.
Choco-Late said it would deep-clean its facility during that time and could open again soon with changes.
“We may reopen with stricter protocols or a different model,” the cafe wrote on Facebook. “Whatever it will take to keep you and equally important our staff safe.”