Brookings bar owners collectively decide to close

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 6:28 PM CDT
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Across South Dakota business owners are having to make tough decisions. In downtown Brookings, bars are making sure that they aren't having to do that alone.

March is usually a busy time for bars as more people are out and about, but at places like The Wild Hare in Brookings it's quiet and empty. That's how it is for many of the bars across town.

"We've been discussing it over the past two weeks about what should we do? What's going on? And everyone is watching the news everyday and we’re talking with each other everyday to figure out what's the right thing to do,” said Luke Olson, Bar Manager at The Wild Hare.

Most bar managers and owners collectively agreed to close their doors on Sunday. It was a tough decision to make.

“Do we close and do we have people lose their jobs? Do we stay open? When is it a safety issue?” said Olson.

But they all believe it's the right decision.

"It was just too tough to keep everybody safe, so we kind of collectively decided that it's safer for everyone, safer for the community, safer for the staff,” said Olson.

This is all new, so it helped that all the bars were able to talk with one another.

"It's what made the decision easier is that we all kind of figured out where everyone was at on Sunday and we were all on the same boat as far as wanting to make everyone safe in the community,” said Olson.

Around the block Cubby’s is closed for dining in.

"Because people are gathering and most people get it, but some people you know were coming out like nothing was happening and were taking it for granted and it got a little scary where we thought the best thing to do was just to keep people from gathering,” said Jeremy Deutsch, Manager at Cubby’s.

However they are doing food pick up and deliveries

"We have 90 employees here and we're trying our best over the last week or two during these crazy times to get people any hours we can,” said Deutsch.

The goal for these bars right now is to help their employees during these uncertain times.

"The government and the state are issuing programs to offer assistance, so we have to dig into that and that's what we'll be doing today,” said Olson.

Bars do not know when they’ll open back up. For now they are taking it day by day.