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Alaska News

Juneau plans special coronavirus testing events after outbreak at bars

The door of the Alaskan Bar in downtown Juneau is locked shut Wednesday morning, Sept. 9, 2020 after a series of COVID-19 cases were linked to bars in Alaska's capital city. (James Brooks / ADN)

JUNEAU - Juneau plans to conduct testing events this weekend for people who visited bars involved in a recent outbreak of the coronavirus.

Officials said the testing is scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the city’s Centennial Hall, KTOO Public Media in Juneau reported.

Officials on Wednesday said the outbreak was related to a single large event and is believed to have infected at least nine people.

City Manager Rorie Watt initially overstated the number of cases, saying there were 19 infections.

The outbreak affected several bar workers and city officials recommended recent patrons should be tested, including those without symptoms.

Some of the city’s bars closed because of the virus outbreak.

The Red Dog Saloon and Salt announced temporary closures, joining Devil’s Club Brewing Company, The Triangle, The Narrows and The Alaskan.

Squirez closed Saturday but announced it was reopening Wednesday afternoon.

Salt owner Tracy LaBarge had only recently reopened following a shutdown resulting from a state mandate. Then one of her employees tested positive, which she said was likely related to the outbreak at Juneau’s bars.

LaBarge said the closure was a wake-up call and that she will begin requiring her employees to be more serious about their social habits.

“I feel like we didn’t have a choice,” LaBarge said. “It was the safest thing to do, for the employees and for, you know, the public. We don’t want to be the cause of somebody getting really sick.”