LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) – As businesses reopen across Los Angeles, roughly half of the 6,500 neighborhood bars that had to close last year in the City of LA may never reopen.
Thousands of bar owners and employees in LA are now figuring out what their next moves are. A Yelp study showed that 6,500 bars closed in the city when the pandemic struck. But now that bars will be able to open again in the orange tier, many do not have the financial means to stay afloat.
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“Every last penny we have has been put into this business,” said Terri Cortines, co-owner of The North End Bar in Hollywood.
She built a patio in her parking lot over the weekend so that she could reopen, but she is worried. Under the orange tier, bars are able to open but only at 25% capacity outside. Tables must be eight feet apart.
“The conversations have always revolved around restaurants,” she said. “You don’t hear talk about bars that don’t serve food.”
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The owners said their landlord has been deferring rent but that means they will still have a year of back-rent due at some point.
Bars that do not serve food, have not been allowed to reopen for most of the pandemic. Earlier this month, under the state’s red tier, breweries and wineries that do not serve food were allowed to reopen for outdoor service with certain safety modifications.
LA County Health Director Dr. Barbara Ferrer said there will be restrictions when bars reopen.
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“These are places where people can not be wearing their masks and not keeping their distance for long periods of time if you’re not really careful about what’s going on in bars,” she said. “So, we’ll have to take a hard look at that.”