While some bars close, others follow COVID-19 guidelines to remain open

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Popular places like Chaser’s Bar and Grill and Bud’s Rockin’ Country Bar & Grill are closed, but some restaurants like Gerst Haus are still open and are taking steps to stay safe and keep open.

“That’s what our cease and desist was from. Someone was playing pool with no mask on,” said Bud’s operations manager Chad Brady.

The Vanderburgh County Health Department document said that it was people not wearing masks and staying apart that lead to shutting buds down after repeated violations. Buds is among several bars that line West Franklin.

“I do not feel like it’s fair. I feel like it’s discrimination against restaurants and bars,” said Brady.
Right across the street, the Gerst Haus remains open. Employees there say they’re working to keep people socially distanced. But they’re also constantly reminding customers to mask up.

“It seems to me that the same people that are pushing for the businesses and their jobs to stay open are a lot of the same people that are not wanting to wear a mask. You’re really shooting yourself in the foot by not wearing one,” said Emily Neary, a server at Gerst Haus.

Eyewitness News spoke with other businesses like Smittys and Sportsman’s Grille who said they’re requiring people mask up and will also ask patrons to do so if they’re not wearing one. Gerst Haus workers said not being compliant with these orders could mean bad news for other restaurants.

“It’s a little frustrating and a little scary to know that my job is at risk of closing at any moment because of somebody else’s behavior,” said Neary.

The bars must produce a plan to present to the health department before they can reopen. That process can take up to two days.

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(This story was originally published on January 5, 2021)

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