PEORIA — Popular cocktail spot Martini's on Water Street has voluntarily closed down because of COVID-19 among its staff.
"We decided to close on our own," Martini’s owner Marty Walgenbach said Sunday evening. "We are going to reach out to local health department officials to find out what the protocol and guidelines are for reopening."
It’s unclear if there are any. Nor if there are protocols that require a business to close based on COVID-19 infections among the staff. Walgenbach closed down his bar on his own.
"It is a difficult time for business owners to navigate the COVID crisis," Walgenbach said. "We have decided to temporarily close until employees can be tested and our business professionally sanitized before reopening.
"We hope that everyone is safe and we look forward to reopening when it is safe to do so."
Martini's initially made the announcement on its official Facebook page Saturday, citing some employees who worked on July 18 and 20 have tested positive for COVID-19.
It’s unknown how long Martini’s will be closed down.
"Staff members have tested positive for COVID-19," the statement read. "The last days these people worked was on (July 18 and July 20)."
Martini’s occupies part of the landmark River Station on the waterfront in Downtown Peoria.
It has an extensive cocktail menu and often brings in live entertainment.
Patrons praised the establishment for notifying the public and being proactive in shutting down on its Facebook page Sunday.
"I have to say that my husband and I were there on the 18th and we are older; Martinis does a great job at trying to social distance," wrote Marlen Monroe in a post on that thread. "The crowd was all outside to listen to the band and they were in there own little groups always spaced from others; the servers all had masks on and the bartenders had masks available but the bar was always between them and the customers; no one sitting at the bar outside (no seating available).
"Who knows where anyone gets Covid; that’s why face masks are so very important for yours and everyone around you."
Dave Eminian is a Journal Star sports columnist and covers the Rivermen and Chiefs. He writes the Cleve In The Eve sports column for pjstar.com. Reach him at 686-3206 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @icetimecleve.