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‘I really dislike lies’: Business owners react to being on list of closed stores

Anchorage small business owners held up cardboard tombstones in front of the Anchorage Assembly...
Anchorage small business owners held up cardboard tombstones in front of the Anchorage Assembly to show how many businesses have been lost for good due to the pandemic(Scott Gross)
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 4:35 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As coronavirus cases surged in Alaska and across the country, Anchorage officials say they were forced to place limits on businesses and everyday life in order to avoid overwhelming hospitals.

That decision has been met with both intense criticism and praise. It has also led to busy Anchorage Assembly meetings with intense crowds.

At last week’s meeting, Anchorage business owner Julie Brophy read the names of local businesses that she says were forced to close as a result of the city mandates.

“There are a lot more businesses than just those,” Brophy said, after listing the names of 79 local businesses including McGee Auto Sales and ROSE HIP Nail Studio. “There is a lot more going on that people don’t know about.”

Tamela Hines from McGee Auto Sales says the decision to close happened before the pandemic. As she spoke at the Assembly meeting, a crowd behind her held cardboard tombstones with the names written in black marker.

Among the names listed by Brophy was Oil & Vinegar, which is in the 5th Avenue Mall. But, the owner of Oil and Vinegar, Vickie Rose, says city mandates had nothing to do with her looking to get out of the business.

“I was mad because there is so much misinformation out there now and each side is calling each other names,” Rose said. “I really dislike lies.”

Rose says she and her husband are 65 years old and looking to have more time off.

“We’re been trying to sell for three years because we’re exhausted,” Rose said.

An image circulating on Facebook reads “Anchorage is dying” and lists 73 businesses with the claim that local mandates forced those closings. Some of those listed names are accurate, others are not.

On Facebook, Birchwood Saloon, which is on the list of 73, says it is temporarily closed.

“We’re not open, simply because we haven’t found any new bartenders. And it probably didn’t help that this misinformed group went and told the internet we’re closed!” the statement reads in part.

Table 6 in midtown was one of the most recent closures in Anchorage. A recent phone call to the restaurant was met with a discontinued recording.

In December, the owner Alex Perez wrote on Facebook: “Today my sons and Walter were with me when I packed the last box and turned off the lights for the final time. Life is bittersweet.”

Some of Table 6′s menu items are now being sold at Haute Quarter Grill, which is also owned by Perez.

Assemblyman Chris Constant says the majority of people in Anchorage support the mandates.

“You have seen the ongoing onslaught of people making arguments that because of us all doom and gloom has occurred, we killed all of these businesses,” Constant said. “... The residents of the municipality of Anchorage, and of the state at large are taking this serious and they’re the ones who are going to get to take credit when Alaska, through the pandemic, when its over, June, July or August through the summer, for being one of the best responses through the whole country.”

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