For bar owners, reopening can’t come soon enough


On Sunday, a number of business owners opened their doors to customers after being closed for two months. But for other business owners, the wait continues.

Under PCOR 2, social distancing measures remain in effect and social gatherings are limited to 10 patrons. That means for businesses that hinge on social gatherings like bars, doors will have to stay closed. PNC looked at how a bar owner is facing these times of financial uncertainty.

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For two months, a handful of businesses on island have adjusted to working from home, only heading to the office when necessary. But working from home isn’t an option for every business owner.

Many have had to wait for Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero to ease the COVID-19 restrictions. And while Sunday was that day for some, there are businesses that still can’t operate under PCOR 2.

Jasmine Poll, owner of Sassy’s Lounge, like many in the bar industry, is faced with hard decisions now that her only source of income is cut off.

“I think for me and for all the bar owners, I think…it’s .. um .. a hard decision to make because I am still scared because we don’t do dine-ins and of course that’s where people come in …  It’s going to be hard for me … I don’t know,” Poll said.

She added: “Since I’m not working, I have to balance it also with whatever I have to pay my business expenses and my personal. This has affected me and I have been through a lot of depression lately. Because the longer it gets, I don’t know if I can still open because I have to pay rent and it just keeps extending and that’s what hurts me more.”

For bar owners, a packed house is a good indicator that business is doing well. But with the PCOR-2 patron limitations, opening up today isn’t feasible.

A PCOR 4 declaration could be over a month away and the longer the doors stay closed, the more uncertain the future becomes for these types of businesses.

But it’s not just about keeping the business afloat, employees are also left waiting.

“At least if we were open, we would make profit sales even if we have to cut our sales, our hours, and stuff … and I’ll be able to pay them. But we’re totally closed down, shut down. So I feel really bad for them because I can’t keep them on payroll,” Poll said.

Tune into tomorrow night as we share how another bar owner is dealing with the shutdown and the financial burden it has created.