Hastings bars reopen with restrictions
Most counties in the state moved to phase two of reopening on Monday, which means bars are allowed to let customers in for a drink. Not all of the bars in Hastings have decided to open just yet. Some are waiting for the next round of health measures to come out. For those who did open, they have some limitations but are ready for their customers to return.
Some of the bars in Hastings have been completely closed since March. Steeple Brewing has been able to do food delivery and carry out. They normally can hold over 100 people who come for a beer and some social time. They are excited to let people come back and believe it is the right time.
“People coming in they'll see our staff following the guidelines and if they can pitch in and follow the guidelines as well I think it's going to be safe, and comfortable, and I think kind of a relief to have some normal life,” Co-founder Anthony May said.
They can only have 50 percent capacity and groups larger than six people will have to be split up to different tables. While they can't serve people outside yet, they are coming up with ways to handle the inside limit.
“We are going to start like a wait list," May said. "So we understand it's going to be tough to find a table and you can't sit in here and wait for a table to open up. So we will have a wait list for people to go sit in their cars or wait outside and we'll give them a call when we have a table open.”
A couple blocks away, Paul's Cigar Lounge let people in for the first time in two months. They have a smaller space but due to the nature of the lounge they usually are at half capacity. They will have some limits on the small humidor room.
“Obviously you can't have a cigar and drink with a mask on but we try to ask people to be sensitive to those issues,” Co-Owner Paul Hamelink said. “We still ask people to use hand sanitizer before going into the humidor and we've always been very diligent about our cleanliness and sanitation.”
Both businesses have been getting great support through the financial challenge.
“I think it's been a real wake up call to small businesses and people personally to be prepared for the unexpected,” Hamelink said.
The businesses said the biggest thing they need is for the customers to follow the guidelines with them, respect the distancing and be patient with the capacity limits.