Hospitality industry left uncertain by restrictions from a new emergency order

The Time Out Lounge had a quiet December as it was closed for the third time due to emergency...
The Time Out Lounge had a quiet December as it was closed for the third time due to emergency orders.(Matt Leseman)
Published: Dec. 30, 2020 at 7:16 AM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Time Out Lounge in Anchorage has been quiet for the month of December. It’s been closed as part of Acting Mayor Austin Quinn-Davidson’s hunker down order, EO-16, but that’s just the latest time it’s been forced to close this year.

“This time it was a month entirely,” said John “JD” Dave, the lead bartender at the lounge. “You look at it for 2020, we were closed almost a quarter of the year.”

Dave said they plan on reopening the business’ doors on Jan. 1 when the latest emergency order, EO-17 replaces the hunker down, but the mandate limits bars to 25% capacity, and stops alcohol sales past 11 p.m.

“The situation we’re worried about in bars is if someone comes in at, you know, 8 p.m. and stays till two in the morning, meanwhile, the more you’re drinking, the more you might be likely to take your mask off or not follow over other important protocols,” said Quinn-Davidson in a press conference Tuesday.

Dave said the hope for the Time Out Lounge is that reopening with those restrictions will keep the business afloat, but he worries others might not be so lucky.

“There’s gonna be some businesses, at 25% capacity, where they might not get enough business before 11 o’clock to where it even is worth having the doors open and the lights on,” he said.

Even the lounge’s team is uncertain just how much business will come back under this order, but Dave said the best thing they can do now is ask the community to work together.

“How far into 2021 do we want to push it?” He asked. “If we can get through it now, play ball, and everybody gets collectively together, on the same page, we can push through it and we can all get back open, but it’s gonna take a unified effort.”

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