By David Schuman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — In response to the ongoing violence in the community, two popular bars in Minneapolis have closed its doors.

The After Midnight Group — owner of Cowboy Jack’s in downtown Minneapolis near Target Field, and Cowboy Slims in Uptown — made the “incredibly difficult decision” to close these locations; that came after “experiencing the violence, vandalism and unsafe working conditions firsthand, and without receiving assurances of safety from city officials.”

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Currently, there is no reopening date planned. The owners say Cowboy Jack’s and Cowboy Slims will remain closed until there is a plan from leadership that “curbs the violence happening in the streets.”

Last weekend, 11 people were shot near Cowboy Slims.

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“You don’t feel safe,” said Michael Juberian, a regular at Slims. “You don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know who’s around the corner. It’s a weird time.”

Toria Panama is also a regular, but she feels the opposite.

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“I don’t think this neighborhood is a threat to anyone of any kind,” Panama said. “I think this location was actually really perfect.”

She said she’s disappointed to see the bars close.

On Friday, the Minnesota Department of Health said Cowboy Jack’s was the site of a recent COVID-19 outbreak among young people.

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The bar owners say that played “zero” role in the decision to close. They also said neither the city nor MDH have contacted them about the outbreak.

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As for the employees, the owners said that over 250 jobs will be effected, but they intend to bring everyone back upon reopening.

David Schuman