Neighborhood bars open without bar seating
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Monday was a day many restaurant owners in Indiana have had circled on their calendars for some time. According to Governor Holcomb's Back on Track Indiana Plan, restaurants across the state were able to re-open at 50% capacity on May 11th. Bars and bar seating had to stay closed which forced places like Mitch's Corner in South Bend to make some adjustments.
"We had to come in and do a lot of cleaning," said Mitch Zultanski, the owner of Mitch's Corner Sports Bar and Grill in South Bend. "Of course, there's always some drainage problems and other things when a building's been sitting for a while, re-ordering all the food and liquor and trying to re-stock everything and trying to go with all the new rules with 50% capacity, no stools at the bar, tables have to be spread out, hand sanitizer stations, trying to keep everybody safe and trying to get back to some sort of (normalcy)."
Zultanski said he and his staff have separated tables more in the dining area and removed bar seats. They’re having staff wear facemasks and have set up hand sanitizer stations along the bar for everyone to use as much as needed.
Zultanski also owns Mitch's Second Base and recently bought Pat's Irish Pub. He said having three locations put more pressure to get business back up and running.
"We have three locations," Zultanski said. "We have costs. We still owe rent. We still have utilities. We still have to pay insurance. Those bills aren't going anywhere. So, it's definitely nice to get some money coming back in this direction."
Monday saw more business than Zultanski expected. He said it was because of people's excitement to go be social again.
"I would say it's as typical, only being open for a few hours if not a little better just because a lot of people were excited to be able to get back out since the governor is allowing us to get back to going back to work and being able to go out and socialize a bit."
Zultanski and other bar and grill owners now will look to the summer when they can fully re-open with 100% capacity and bar service as opposed to 50% capacity and no bar seating now.