Blacksburg bar adapts to the pandemic, says it’s not easy

Published: Jan. 19, 2021 at 6:38 PM EST
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A local bar in Blacksburg is doing everything they can to survive the pandemic, but the owners say operating under current mandates is not easy.

Current COVID-19 mandates have left bars like Hokie House in a hard place.

“When you’re trying to be a bar and now, you’re forced to be a restaurant it’s kind of tricky,” said Brian Palmer, a co-owner of Hokie House.

He says operating under the current mandates is not easily sustainable, especially in a college town.

“We already endure that spring break, Thanksgiving break, summer, Christmas break which is — add all those up this past year and it’s almost half the year, so not only have we been in the middle of a pandemic but half of the year has been completely an empty town,” said Palmer.

Palmer says they are hanging on, but with the 10 p.m. cutoff for serving alcohol, it means during the hours they would normally be busy, the bar is empty.

“The hours from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in the morning is probably a third of our sales throughout the year normally and we already got that cut back to midnight and then we got cut back to 10 p.m.,” said Palmer.

He says they are following all COVID-19 guidelines but until the mandates ease—business will have to stay this way.

“So until the mandates change it’s got to be the same, hopefully with the vaccine coming out and have people’s willingness to take it will change the numbers a little bit so some people can come out if you’re more comfortable or safe,” he said.

Palmer looks forward to things going back to normal, getting customers back and simply having fun again.

The co-owner we spoke with today says they hope this year will provide a big turnaround in business and more people get vaccinated.

They say they are also in the early process of starting something new to help local businesses save on food delivery.

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