How bars and restaurants plan to deal with COVID-19 closure

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — “Indiana is under a public health emergency,” announced Governor Eric Holcomb. “We are, make no mistake about it, at war with COVID 19.”

The governor strongly defended the decision to limit all bars and restaurants in the state to strictly takeout and delivery after the first Hoosier death from COVID-19.

“To those who think we may be overreacting, I can assure you, we are not,” Holcomb said.

The shutdown will be a blow to the local economy, especially for small bars and restaurants like Indiana City Brewing.

“Our supporters are our lifeblood. This taproom is what keeps us going,” said Indiana City Brewing owner Ray Kamstra. “So to have it close even for a couple weeks is going to be a serious hit to our bottom line.”

The bar inside is now closed. Their biggest customer base is all the other restaurants serving their beer. Now those too are closing shop.

“We’ve got the best supporters in Indy, so I know they’ll help us through it,” Kamstra said. “But it’s definitely a punch in the gut right now.”

On top of the lost revenue, the lost income is a major concern among employees. Especially those relying on tips.

“We are going to need assistance for a lot of employees, which could be 100-plus thousand people,” said Eddie Sahm, the owner of Sahm’s Restaurant.

Sahm is hoping to run a drive through grocery service in addition to carry outs, opening up their supply of food.

“We’ll have things like eggs, milk, orange juice, hopefully bottled water, maybe toilet paper,” Sahm said.

It’s going to require creative thinking, but business owners are optimistic they’ll get through this. They just ask for support, assistance and for everyone to stop the spread.

“If people really want to help, exchange goods with us,” Sahm said. “Gift cards are great, but in reality, you need groceries at home. So lets come up with creative ways to do that in a safe way.”

“At the end of the day, small business is too big to fail,” said Kamstra. “I think we need to think about it that way.”

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