Husby’s Closes After Employee Tests Positive for COVID-19, County Cases Rise to 73

Husby’s Food and Spirits, the popular bar and grill in Sister Bay, announced that it will close indefinitely out of caution after an employee tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Bar owners were notified of the positive test result Thursday afternoon, and the closure was announced shortly thereafter.

“Nobody forced us to close,” said co-owner Chad Kodanko Thursday evening. “We have not been contacted by the health department. But we decided to close and ask all of our employees to get tested before we reopen.”

On Friday the Door County Public Health Department reported three more positive COVID-19 test results, bringing the county’s total to 73. Twenty-three cases are active and 227 tests are pending.

Door County Medical Center (DCMC) is now offering COVID-19 testing to those who are experiencing symptoms at the NWTC Learning and Innovation Center at 2438 S. Bay Shore Drive, Sister Bay, from 9 am-2 pm. Tests will be offered Wednesday, July 22 and Wednesday, July 29. Appointments are required and can be made through DCMC’s COVID hotline, 920.746.3700.

In the wake of the announcement from Husby’s, several Sister Bay restaurants upped their precautions. The Northern Grill announced it will offer curbside pickup only, Wild Tomato announced that all customers will be required to wear facemarks until seated or if drinking as they wait to be seated, a policy also enacted at Al Johnson’s, Skip Stone, CHOP and Lure. The Sister Bay Bowl and Boathouse on the Bay have temporarily suspended indoor dining. Other restaurants like Grasse’s Grill, Base Camp, Door County Creamery and Analog have had mask requirements or had already suspended indoor dining.

The Husby’s employee got tested Monday after being unable to taste food. Kodanko said the employee did not work after noticing symptoms. No other staff members have reported symptoms, Kodanko said.

Husby’s is one of northern Door County’s most popular restaurants known for live music and nightlife. Kodanko said the bar has taken many precautions this year to operate safely, including increased sanitation, spacing tables and bar stools, and eliminating live music. Kodanko said staff is required to wear masks for food preparation, but not outside at the outdoor bar. Masking for servers is one of the primary recommendations from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation guidelines for restaurants. Though Kodanko said most customers choose to sit outside, inside dining has been available with tables spaced out.

The bar has also not required masks of its customers. Kodanko, a member of the Sister Bay Village Board, said he’s frustrated with leadership at the county, state, and national levels for leaving it to businesses to make public health decisions. 

“I would love for our state to adopt legislation so we as businesses can all operate the same,” he said. “To leave it up to individual businesses is a joke. I’d love regional, or nationwide protocols.”

Kodanko said the restaurant will reevaluate operations whenever it reopens.

In Wisconsin, 331 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are now hospitalized, up from 236 on July 2.