El Paso bar owners have mixed feelings about having to close doors… again


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Bars across Texas had to close their doors on Friday per a new executive order from Gov. Greg Abbott in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Bars were allowed to reopen in Texas back in May, however, El Paso bars opened about one week after the rest of Texas. Now they must close their doors again after only about two weeks of business.

The owner of the Berkeley Cocktail Lounge in Downtown El Paso told KTSM he did not expect to wake up Friday morning to find out he had to close his bar on his birthday.

The Berkeley Cocktail Lounge

“I will not forget this birthday, I woke up on my birthday and the governor said to shut down all bars,” said Lawrence Davenport, owner of The Berkeley Cocktail Lounge.

Adding that he was actually surprised bars were allowed to reopen as soon as they were.

“Actually I wanted to stay closed longer but it was just like pressure with everyone else opening back up,” said Davenport.

The bar was only open for less than two weeks, and sales were still low.

“Sales were still under 50 percent even though we were opened up at fifty percent capacity we still weren’t doing 50 percent numbers. So people are still scared to come out anyway,” said Davenport.

With 233 new COVID-19 cases reported in El Paso Friday, Davenport says in a way he is relieved.

“It does give me some relief that maybe this time we can get it right and get our numbers down before we open shop back up,” said Davenport.

Rockin’ Cigar Bar

However, the owner of Rockin’ Cigar Bar, not far from the Berkeley, said he doesn’t think bars should have to close.

“This is insanity, we can open, we can gather some money, pay our bills, and then they shut us back down again,” said Frank Ricci Jr., owner of Rockin’ Cigar Bar.

Although he does say it is hard for bars to follow social distancing guidlines.

“Our job is to entertain people our job is to let them dance, let them talk let them socialize. You know what it’s like to tell people who come into a bar don’t talk to this person, stay away from that person don’t dance, sit at your table,” said Ricci.

All bars were had to close by noon on Friday.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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