As COVID-19 cases rise in Dane County, several bars in the downtown Madison area have shortened their hours or shut down entirely to prevent transmission among patrons and employees.
Since students returned to campus at the end of August, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Madison rose considerably with over 1,070 students and faculty testing positive — a figure that accounts for at least 74 percent of new cases since September 1.
The Kollege Klub, which city officials briefly closed in July after being linked to a string of infections from the virus, decided to temporarily close again, citing the recent uptick in cases as the reason for doing so.
The Double U, another bar frequented by UW-Madison students that was the subject of a viral video in May showing students lined up outside in close quarters, followed suit and shut their doors to customers for the last two nights.
Red Rock Saloon, The Church Key, Blue Velvet Lounge and Lucky's 1313 Brew Pub have also temporarily closed.
“For the health and safety of our staff and customers, we are temporarily closing and taking a few days for our staff to be COVID tested and to do a deep clean,” Lucky’s said in a statement.
However, Lucky’s still expects to open its doors by next week.
In response to the surge of COVID-19 cases resulting from bars and in the downtown area, Dane county officials issued a warning to residents in the area.
"If you live or work in the area, you should assume you were exposed to COVID-19 and monitor yourself for symptoms"
Madison Mayor Rhodes-Conway also acknowledged the rising number of cases originating from the UW community and attributed student social gatherings as a primary cause for the spike.
“Let’s be frank, it's parties. It’s people getting together to socialize and not taking the necessary precautions,” Rhodes-Conway said. “I don't think it's in-person classes or people that are going to work that are causing infections, it's people being irresponsible.”
However, while more and more bars are closing their doors, State Street Brats, which closed last week due to health concerns, has already re-opened.
“The days off allowed our entire staff to get tested and for us to give the entire space a thorough cleaning following all CDC standards,” the bar and restaurant announced on Wednesday. “We take covid concerns very seriously and are trying to be a respectful member of our community while also running a family owned business that needs local community support.”