Joe Friedrichs

Gunflint Trail restaurant temporarily closes after possible exposure to COVID-19

A restaurant that also provides other services on the Gunflint Trail has decided to close its doors temporarily after some of its employees were potentially exposed to the new coronavirus.

The Poplar Haus, which serves as a restaurant, liquor store and offers cabin rentals on the shores of Poplar Lake, announced yesterday they decided to temporarily close after a group of people from outside the area visited the restaurant August 19 and have since tested positive for COVID-19. Poplar Haus Co-owner Bryan Gerrard told WTIP the guests were tourists staying at a neighboring lodge.

It was later confirmed the guests were staying at Bearskin Lodge on the Gunflint Trail.

WTIP spoke with a manager from Bearskin Lodge on August 26. They said operations will resume at Bearskin with strict cleaning policies for COVID-19 that have been in place this summer.

A majority of the staff at Poplar Haus were tested for COVID-19 in Grand Marais at a local healthcare facility Wednesday, Aug. 26. The restaurant will remain closed until the staff at Poplar Haus get their results back, and at a minimum of one week, Gerrard said.

“In all likelihood this is a non-event for us but we felt it best to play it super safe,” Gerrard said. “To be honest, I am shocked we have made it this far in the season without an incident like this so we feel pretty fortunate.”

WTIP’s Joe Friedrichs spoke with Gerrard about the situation and temporary closure of the restaurant at Poplar Haus. The audio below is their conversation.