ABL Statement on States Re-closing Bars and Taverns

June 30, 2020

BETHESDA, MD – American Beverage Licensees (ABL) Executive Director John Bodnovich issued the following statement regarding states re-closing bars and taverns due to COVID-19:

“After being shut down for up to 100 days in some states, laying off their employees and suffering devastating financial losses, bar and tavern owners have taken steps to safely reopen their businesses in compliance with state government guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  This has included implementing new public health safety policies, rehiring and retraining employees, purchasing PPE for staff and other products to deeply clean their businesses, as well as restocking beer, wine, liquor and food to serve their customers.

“Now, just before the Fourth of July weekend, these hospitality businesses are being singled out in some states, forced to close their doors again and shoulder a disproportionate share of the blame for spikes in coronavirus cases.  Picking on bars and creating an unlevel playing field is not the solution, especially when other newly reopened non-essential businesses such as restaurants and elective surgery centers are given a pass and can remain open.  Bars and taverns have a vested interest in keeping the marketplace safe for customers and urge state and local governments to acknowledge that with their policies.

“Governors, legislators, mayors and other government officials must understand that bars and taverns absolutely cannot close and reopen at the flip of a switch, and they cannot afford to invest in the supplies, products and people needed to reopen only to be closed again right away.  If they are to survive, they need a level playing field with other hospitality businesses, regulatory certainty so they can develop COVID-19 business plans, and economic support from policymakers if shutdowns are to continue.”