Losing lives or money: a dilemma with an answer 1:13
. – Scott Repass, a co-owner of a bar in Houston, had opened his business about three weeks before the governor re-implemented closing orders for some businesses again in response to a surge in new coronavirus cases.
In the short time they were open, Repass says staff followed the safety guidelines to the letter: They required customers to wear face masks when moving. They offered hand sanitizer at the door. Waiters and servers wore face masks. No one crowded and almost no one used cash. But that was not enough.
Unsure of how long this second hit can last, Repass has now applied for unemployment benefits. And you are not alone.
This was the closing for a pandemic in Miami on March 3:00
Bar owners across the state and in other parts of the country that were forced into a second shutdown say they don’t know what it will be like this time, and whether they will be able to survive.
In a press release on Friday, announcing that bars should close again, Texas Governor Greg Abbott said: “It is clear that the increase in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans who congregate in bars. ” The move comes after the bars were reopened on May 22, under the state’s second phase of reopening.
The orders to close bars, at various critical points in the United States, come when some healthcare professionals have called the scenes of crowded bars across the country the perfect breeding ground for the virus.
At least 85 people contracted coronavirus after visiting an East Lansing, Michigan, bar earlier this month. In Louisiana, health officials say they have received at least 100 positive case reports from people who visited or worked at Tigerland bars in Baton Rouge.
At least one Idaho county has stepped back a stage in the reopening, announcing that bars and nightclubs would not be allowed to remain open after many of the state’s new cases were associated with people who reported having had a night out. And in California, the governor ordered the closing of bars in seven counties this Sunday, days after saying an increase in cases was fueled by youth groups and gatherings.
Reopening yes, but how to do it? 6:43
Second round of devastated bars in Florida
When cases began to surface in Florida, the Volstead bar, in downtown Jacksonville, closed for another deep cleanup, the bar’s director of Marketing for the bar, Hana Ferguson said. All staff members were screened for the virus, he added, and were cleared.
“We barely survived the first shutdown and once we were allowed to reopen in Phase 2, we were very strict about following all CDC guidelines,” said Ferguson. “We have had a hard time making ends meet, especially with all the rules in place.”
And now they had no choice but to close their doors a second time after on-premises alcohol use was suspended in Florida bars.
In mid-March, bars and clubs were closed. As most Florida counties entered the second phase of reopening, on June 5, the bars were reopened, maintaining a 50% seating capacity indoors.
In an emergency order, issued last week, the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulations announced that bars could still sell alcohol to go in sealed containers. The Department said that restaurants could continue to serve alcohol.
Effective immediately, the Department of Business and Professional Regulation is suspending on premises consumption of alcohol at bars statewide.
– Florida DBPR (@FloridaDBPR) June 26, 2020
“All they did was flip the switch,” says Paul Medrano, owner of two bars in Tampa. “So now you’re going from a bar to a restaurant that acts like a bar, so you’re not cutting down on people who could get infected because all they are doing is moving them to another location.”
“None of this makes sense,” says Medrano.
Like the other bars CNN spoke to, Medrano says the staff worked to enforce all safety precautions, including providing masks for patrons who didn’t have one and maintaining a distance of at least two meters between each table. But he says that was not the case in all establishments.
“For me, it was the offenders,” says the bar owner of what caused the second shutdown. “It is like elementary school. One person breaks the rules and everyone has to pay. “
The financial impacts
Behind every adjustment states had to make to combat a further spread of the new coronavirus, bar owners say it was a devastating financial impact.
Staff members are struggling to earn a living, says Ferguson.
“For them, this is their career. They are risking everything to go back to work “only to be expelled, he said.
But there is also the money used to keep the business alive.
Houston’s Repass says that when their bars first closed during the initial shutdown, they spent thousands of dollars ordering the right equipment to be able to sell their take-out products. They trained their servers and waiters to a completely different business model.
Then, when the state began to lift measures and the bars were ordered to open, Repass says the bars invested more money in creating nice terraces for patrons to sit outside, as recommended by health officials and again, trained your personal.
And now, with rising costs and tax deadlines, Repass only says it hopes its state has at least peaked in new cases, a sign that would mean things could start to improve soon.
Medrano in Tampa doesn’t see this second shutdown lasting less than two weeks.
“I would say that my estimate will be a month, a month and a half and that … we will have trouble,” said Medrano.
“It will hurt.”