Tuscaloosa bars reopen after 2-week shutdown

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — After a two-week mandatory shutdown, bars in Tuscaloosa are open for business.

Restrictions are still in place, requiring bars to be at half capacity or 100-person capacity, whichever is fewer. Customers must also be seated in order to order alcoholic beverages.

CBS 42’s Malique Rankin spoke with the owner of The Booth, a downtown Tuscaloosa bar. Brandon Hanks, one of the owners said he is doing his part to make sure he doesn’t face another shutdown.

“I mean hopefully we can just keep moving forward and try to find a common ground and keep these numbers down with COVID,” Hanks said. “I want it to be happy across the board. It’s just not right that some of the larger bars are taking the beating they’re taking just because of their size. That’s not right.”

University of Alabama students were enjoying the bars’ reopening right away.

“Yeah, it’s been pretty boring around here honestly,” Matthew Farish said. “It’s kind of sad. You can’t really keep kids cooped up.”

“I am but I’m concerned with the social distancing,” Alyssa Jones said. “But they really are social distancing at every bar so I’m comfortable coming here.”

For many bar owners in Tuscaloosa, no part of the coronavirus pandemic has made their jobs easy. Hanks said he had just received an order of liquor when he found out about the two-week shutdown.

“The inventory,” Hanks said. “Stocking up and getting loaded up, all of a sudden you get the phone call that you’re closed starting Monday, and all your stuff is just going to sit there?”

Current restrictions will remain in place until next Thursday, September 17 at 5 p.m. On September 15, the Tuscaloosa city council will vote on providing $400,000 in economic relief funds for the bar owners that were forced to close.


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