Nothing changes for RI bars in Phase 3

A local dive bar in Providence says with this guidance they'll likely have to sit most of  Phase Three out because it doesn't make economic sense for them to reopen to so few customers.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Phase Three begins on Tuesday but bars and clubs will remain under Phase Two guidelines.

“Bars that are able to provide seated service to groups at stable tables have allowed to be open and will continue to be allowed to be open,” said Governor Gina Raimondo Monday. “However we are not allowing people to mingle in close quarters and be served in front of a bar.”

The governor said her reasoning comes from the data on outbreaks in other states that indicate bars and clubs as hot spots for the virus to spread.

A local dive bar in Providence says with this guidance they’ll likely have to sit most of  Phase Three out because it doesn’t make economic sense for them to reopen to so few customers.

The owner  at Nolan’s Corner Pub says it doesn’t make sense to reopen since his staff will essentially risk their own health to make a fraction of what they’re used to.

“Not worth it for me to bring my employees back into a possibly unsafe situation for considerably less money,” said Owner Brendan McCaughey.

McCaughey says his staff is used to dozens packing the dive bar at night and relying on the money that comes with that. Under the reopening guidelines they would be serving substantially less people.

“I’m a neighborhood, corner bar. I sell $3 beers. Sort of my whole business model is volume,” said McCaughey. “And when you can only have 12 people at a time in here, that goes out the window.”

When they do reopen, Nolan’s will have to have fixed tables of people and no mingling.

“The dive bar model is in trouble,” said McCaughey.

It’s something that’s hard to imagine for regulars like Manuel Correia.

“Our normal meeting spot,” Correia described Nolan’s. “We call it home base.”

But ultimately both say they think it’s the right public health guidance for bars.

“My first concerns is my customers’ safety and my employees’ safety,” said McCaughey.

“You don’t want people getting sick unnecessarily for your entertainment,” said Correia.

Nolan’s is planning to reopen at the end of July once the extra pandemic unemployment  aid runs out, at which point they will plan to adapt with some outdoor seating.

Categories: Coronavirus, News, Providence, Rhode Island