Expectations vs. Reality, Bars a week after reopening

Published: May. 20, 2020 at 9:08 AM AKDT
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For a little more than a week, bars have had the option of reopening their doors.

There have been occupancy restrictions, PPE precautions, there's been data collection, and a lot of cleaning and hand sanitizer used. For a bit of insight, KTUU reached out to a local bar owner and a local bartender to get their impression of the opening week along with that first weekend.

"It was definitely a lot less than normal but I mean... it was good." Said the owner of The Avenue Bar Logan Remmel.

"We had plenty of business, we had lines out the door occasionally, everybody's been patient and great for the most part." Said Tiffani McNeill, a bartender that works at F Street Station.

While getting the public to comply with Covid-19 restrictions can be difficult when they are sober the question of how they might respond after a cocktail or three now has a few answers.

"I mean everybody's responsible. They took care of what they're supposed to do. They're social distancing and so you know they got out, you got to have a beer and be out of the house." Said Remmel.

"People don't really love social distancing but we just keep reminding them and make sure they're communicating with the people around them and they're doing a good job." Said McNeill.

Extra precautions extend to the setup in some bars. "We had some separation between some of the tables, we took out a bunch of the bar stools. So it just depends and then we got some stacked in the back. I mean some people have, you know, four or five people in their household. so, let them pull the chairs back out as long as they're in the same group." Said Remmel.

As for how it has felt to be back to work, in a bar, around other people.

"This week it feels way more normal than last week. it was stressful getting all the mandates in order and getting comfortable being back and getting our feet wet." Said McNeill in front of F Street Station.

"It was all the same old things just everybody had to stay a little more separated." Said Remmel from behind his bar.

As restrictions continue to ease or even be lifted entirely many will have to make their own decisions about when they feel comfortable venturing back into public places like bars and restaurants. For those who have done it already, there are positives and negatives but the feeling of a little normalcy clearly falls into the first group.

"Seeing everybody, working, it's been... it's been good." Said McNeill.

More bars and restaurants have opened up this week and more will continue to but if you are looking to make your first trip out since the start of this pandemic you may want to check that your favorite watering hole is open before you call for that ride.

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