Future for private bar owners remains in doubt as state remains in Phase 2

Posted July 14, 2020 11:37 p.m. EDT

— With coronavirus numbers still high, Gov. Roy Cooper on Tuesday announced the state will remain in Phase 2 of the state's reopening plan for at least another three weeks.

That's not good news for some business owners in our state, particularly for bars, where many are still struggling to make ends meet. Bar owners who spoke to WRAL said if restaurants on Glenwood South can get away with operating as bars late at night, their private bars should be able to open, too.

"We're not, by any means, doing all right," said Kevin Slater, owner of The Atomic Fern. "We haven't had business in five months. I can't pay my rent."

Keeping the lights on at The Atomic Fern in Durham just became harder after the announcement of Phase 2 was announced.

"We're not allowed to be open by the governor's order," Slater said. "We're 100 percent closed, which means we're making 0%."

Jack Cozort from the NC Bar and Tavern Association said many are struggling to keep their businesses from going under.

"They're borrowing as much as they can," Cozart said. "They're spending the funds that they had in reserve, put as much as they can on credit cards."

The NC Bar and Tavern Association says there’s a total of 7,000 bars across the state. There are 6,000 allowed to open because they function as wineries, distilleries, breweries and restaurants. But 1,000 private bars remain closed.

"We have our landlord who wants his money," Slater said. "These small businesses need support."

The plan is for bar owners to keep convincing Cooper and even the courts that these bars should be able to open

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.