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Lake Geneva restaurant closes after employee tests positive for coronavirus
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Lake Geneva restaurant closes after employee tests positive for coronavirus

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A popular restaurant and tavern on the Lake Geneva lakefront has closed its doors temporarily after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus.

Popeye’s on Lake Geneva, located at 811 Wrigley Drive, announced today that an employee has been quarantined with the virus, and that the business is shutting down until further notice.

In an announcement posted on the restaurant’s front doors, Popeye’s extends apologies to customers, including those whose plans are being disrupted for this weekend’s Father’s Day holiday.

“Although we are not required to shut down, we deem it our responsibility to our wonderful team of employees and our valued guests,” the announcement said.

Popeye’s said it plans to reopen in late June, although an exact date has not been announced.

Located along the Lake Geneva lakefront, Popeye’s is a popular tourist stop that has been crowded with customers since Wisconsin businesses in mid-May were permitted to reopen during the coronavirus pandemic.

Most tourists and other visitors packing the city’s downtown have dispensed with wearing face masks or taking other precautions — stirring fears that the contagious respiratory infection would be spread among the crowds.

In its announcement today, Popeye’s said its employee has been “self-quarantined” since exhibiting symptoms and is “currently on the mend.” Details have not been released about the employee’s job at Popeye’s or when the employee got sick.

Popeye’s said restaurant officials are working with the Walworth County Health & Human Services Department “to ensure we are doing everything possible to contain any potential spread of the disease.”

County health officials could not be reached for comment.

Popeye’s, which has been a lakefront fixture since the 1970s, has indoor seating for about 400 people, plus another 125 on outdoor sidewalk cafes. It is not known whether the restaurant had lowered its capacity as a precaution during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lake Geneva city officials have rejected proposals to require face masks and to prevent congestion on public sidewalks, including where restaurants offer outdoor dining.

In today’s announcement, Popeye’s said the business would undergo extensive cleaning and sanitation before reopening to the public.

“The health and safety of our staff and guests is our main concern,” the restaurant said. “Please bear with us as we certify that the restaurant is safe to reopen.”

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