Juneau suspends drinking in bars again as COVID-19 cases spike

A triangular window into a bar with a sign posted outside about a closure.
The Triangle Club Bar and a handful of other bars and restaurants in Juneau are temporarily closed due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among bar workers. (Rashah McChesney/KTOO)

Friday night ended up being last call for Juneauites for the next two weeks. 

In an evening emergency public health order, city officials raised the community alert level and mandated that all bars in Juneau must close to indoor service starting Saturday at noon.

The move comes after local health officials reported that two more people linked to bar activity had tested positive for COVID-19 by Friday. So far at least 13 people have gotten sick after a single, large social gathering that many bartenders in town attended in late August.

Deputy City Manager Mila Cosgrove wrote in an email that bars that have outdoor seating can still serve customers, but that seating has to allow for social distancing. According to the order, bars can still do curbside and delivery service. 

The order also requires restaurants to drop to 50 percent of indoor capacity and only to accept people who have made reservations in advance. 

Several bars and restaurants in Juneau had already closed down this week due to COVID-19 exposure. 

City officials urged anyone who has visited a bar in the last two weeks to get tested for COVID-19 this week, even if they don’t have symptoms. 

pop-up COVID-19 testing center at Centennial Hall, targeted specifically to people who have been going to bars, will be open through the weekend. It opened Friday and, by mid-afternoon, Cosgrove said 147 people had been tested. 

The emergency order is in effect for 15 days.

Adelyn Baxter contributed to this report.