Bars and entertainment venues remain closed months into pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Months into the pandemic, bars across the state remain closed Monday night, forcing some to rely on food sales to keep afloat. Places like Revel Entertainment Center are meant to be bustling at night with people enjoying the bars and live music but they have since turned into ghost towns.

Opening an entertainment venue in Albuquerque was Daniel Chavez’s dream. “That was the vision,” Chavez said. “That was the dream. That is what I saved my money for.”

After just three weeks of opening Revel Entertainment Center back in March, coronavirus shut it down. “That is one of the tough things for me to come here,” Chavez said. “I did not like walking in here. It is really hard to walk in and see all the work finished and ready to go with no people in here.”

Chavez has had to lay off 125 people. Right now, the only money coming in is from carryout and delivery from the restaurants inside. The majority of sales were set to come from their large venues like the concert space and piano bar, plus two other bars. All of those remain empty. “Unfortunately, we have seen that there will be no elbow to elbow entertainment going on for probably who knows,” Chavez said.

Michael Conforti at the Library Bar and Grill said it’s been extremely difficult to survive months of being closed, taking out a number of loans to help out. “It has been a roller coaster,” Conforti said. “We see certain dates coming up and then we are told to hold on until this date in June, this date in July. Then, we see things going backwards and we understand the health concerns but we are trying to do our best to survive.”

Conforti said they relied on carry out for some time, but the place is known for its nightlife. “Places like ours are more about being at the place and enjoying the atmosphere,” Conforti said. “The bills that come along with running a bar or restaurant are so enormous. You really would have to have quite a bit of takeout sales just to make it worth your while to be open.”

Chavez said he is in it for the long haul to see his dream fulfilled. “If it lasts another year and a half, we will still be here,” Chavez said. “We will see concerts in this venue. All the bars will be fully functioning and we will be back at it.”

Chavez said their concert venue makes up 70% of their business. That was set to open this summer but they are slowing the project down until they know for sure when concerts are coming back.

He doesn’t expect that to happen until the fall of next year. The governor has previously said that bars could possibly reopen in phase two.


New Mexico Coronavirus Resource Guide

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