Pandemic impacts local bar, changes made to make business safer

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BROWNSVILLE, Texas (KVEO) — Some of the industries hit the hardest during the pandemic were bars and restaurants.

With The Big Game just a few weeks away, bars are adapting to the new change.

“We’ve been closed roughly since March,” said bar owner Mariano Gil. “I would say about 65% of our annual sales is what we lost. It’s been very rough.”

He owns the popular bar Shot Republic in Brownsville. The majority of 2020, the doors were closed.

“About 8 months since we’re just a bar. Because we had no kitchen. Luckily the state of Texas extended a lifeline that falls into the same predicament that I had,” he said.

He modified his bar into a restaurant.

“We were able to retain about 91 percent of our staff,” he said.

His business has not been the only one impacted by the pandemic. A new report released Monday from the International Labor Organization reports restrictions on businesses because of the pandemic is worse than the 2009 crisis.

Before the pandemic, The Big Game would be a time where they would see an increase in sales.

“We normally do a super bowl party packed house Barbeque and what not,” he said.

This year, everyone watching will have a different experience.

Gil said they made changes to keep everyone safe.

“Plexiglass in between tables so our approach is very unusual for a bar to do the things that we did. We have the safety in mind of our guests before anything else,” he said.

He is hopeful things will get better.

“Not so much of things going back to normal but better than before,” he said.

They have reduced to 50% capacity. They urge to contact the bar to reserve a spot to host a party.

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