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Blacksburg bars prepare for fewer COVID-19 restrictions

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 6:36 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - Bars and restaurants are shifting gears again after Governor Ralph Northam eased more COVID-19 restrictions.

You can now pull up a seat at the bar.

Governor Northam loosened Executive Order 72, which is all about COVID-19 restrictions.

“The governor is, you know, inching by inching and we, we applaud that,” said Jerry Smith, the vice president of Roanoke’s Regional Restaurant Group.

Before, at a bar or restaurant, you could only be seated at tables adjacent to the bar, but now you can pull up and take a seat - as long as groups are 6 feet apart.

“We would love to open fully back up and go, but we all have our unique challenges, we have staffing issues. We have many mitigating issues now that we’ve never had in the past,” said Smith.

Smith says while lifted restrictions are great, many places are still trying to hire more people to meet the demand, all while still having to end alcohol sales at midnight.

“It really doesn’t make a difference in terms of business operations. What it does help, it helps the guests with convenience, it’s giving them that little bit of sense of normalcy that they can ‘oh we can sit at a bar now,’” said Smith.

Smith says at the end of the day they simply hope they will be allowed to stay up until 2 a.m. once again.

“Because we are in a college town and our clientele is still awake until 2 a.m., and that would help us retain more staff because we’re able to provide more for the staff,” said Smith.

Many owners also hope more restrictions will be eased by Memorial Day, as they anticipate a big day of businesses for many bars and restaurants in many of our hometowns.

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