ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Starting Monday, businesses like restaurants, salons, and gyms will be back in business. But, bars are wondering when it will be their turn to open. Bars are ordered to stay closed until further notice under Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham’s latest health order. Area bars and breweries said they weren’t too surprised to hear the news.
“I mean we want to open, absolutely. But, the way that everything’s been handled for us, it’s not surprising and for the most part, we’re pretty happy with how she’s actually handling a lot of this,” Luke Murphy, bartender and co-manager of Anodyne in downtown, said.
While its doors are closed, many of the bar’s employees are on unemployment. In the meantime, it’s preparing to re-open with safety precautions in place like sanitizing stations in the bar. We also talked with Safe House Distilling Co., which is waiting to open its tasting room.
“During this whole time, breweries and distilleries and wineries have been considered restaurants for to-go and allowing to-go sales. And then randomly on this last order, we’ve been clumped in now with bars,” Chris Leurig, head distiller and co-founder of Safe House Distilling Co., said.
While the distillery has been able to sell bottles curb-side and distribute to liquor stores when they opened, Leurig said 90% of its business is lost while its tasting room is closed.
The order defines a bar as any food or beverage service establishment that made over 50% of its 2019 sales from selling alcoholic beverages. In Thursday’s press conference, the governor didn’t explain why bars specifically had to remain closed, but she did say opening too much too soon could bring more risk.
Businesses said they want to know when they’ll be able to open sooner rather than later. If they’re told only a day before, similar to what happened with restaurants opening patios, they might not have enough enough time to get staffed and open.
“We do want to open up as soon as we can, but we need to know when we’re going to be able to actually do that, and not with just a few day’s notice,” Murphy said.
“More communication, communication is very essential in us preparing to get ready to open,” Jeremy Kinter, Marketing Director at Tractor Brewing Company said.”But we understand the governor’s position in that these are unprecedented times so that’s not necessarily allotted.”
Breweries and wineries are also closed with the exception of allowing curb-side pickup. “We’re just evolving and rolling with the punches as things change, I feel like, on an almost daily basis,” Kinter said.
- City of Albuquerque to allow ‘sidewalk seating’ at restaurants
- Restaurant patios reopen Wednesday across Albuquerque
- Councilor proposes expanding eventual dine-in liquor sales to restaurant, bar parking lots