Springfield-Greene County leaders allow bars, nightclubs and breweries to reopen

Published: May. 7, 2020 at 9:47 PM CDT
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Just days after Springfield and Greene County's stay-at-home orders expired, allowing some places to open, city and county leaders decided to ease restrictions even more.

"We're pleased today to announce today an amendment to our 'Road to Recovery' phase one order," said Mayor Ken McClure in a news conference Thursday.

Springfield-Greene County leaders have not limited access to alcohol during the stay-at-home orders, but they did put a hold on where you could get it.

"The middle of February, we were really picking up,. We were doing really good, and then the time things were really starting to roll, we got shut down," said Cole Blake, the owner of Vintage Dancelouge in downtown Springfield.

Vintage Dancelounge has been shut down since the end of March.

Thursday, city leaders gave owner Cole Blake and other night club, bar and microbrewery owners the go-ahead to reopen as soon as this Thursday night. But, the freedom comes with limitations.

"These additional openings however will require 25% occupancy limitations and,or 25 total customers or patrons, whichever is more," said Mayor McClure.

Blake said for his business, the limited profit isn't worth re-opening right now.

"Our business model is to kind of pack the place, we don't have to [pack it] to pay the bills, but 25, that's less than 10% of our capacity," he said. "All of the lights and everything like the heating, the air and all of that is off, so we save a bunch of money on just bills a month by being closed."

The general manager of Zan the Club, Boogie Bar and Bubbles Lounge, says they also plan to continue their closures for a while longer.

Blake said his nightclub will not open right away once restrictions are lifted. Because his club is newer to the downtown area, he would like to give other bars and businesses a chance to get their customers back before adding to the competition.

The announcement came as good news to Mother's Brewing Company, which plans to reopen Friday at 4 pm.

"Twenty-five people isn't a lot of people, so we can't really afford to have a lot of folks here monitoring that. But we're going to take a stab at it and just figure out the best method," said Jeff Schrag, the owner of Mother's Brewing Company.

He said his business and other breweries in the area have been working with city leaders to figure out a plan for safely reopening. Schrag said he is excited to feel a little bit of normalcy again, even if it is with a limited capacity.

"We'll be open for drinking on site and carry out," he said. "We're just going to see how it goes. We've got all kinds of ideas and plans for how to regulate."

The city is requiring all businesses to continue to practice strict six feet, social distancing with their customers. Schrag said that will not be a problem for them.

"We have enough space for several thousand people in our back yard, so it's not going to be an issue for us to accommodate social distancing."