RI strip club owner speaks out after receiving backlash for reopening
WOONSOCKET, R.I. (WLNE) – The owner of the Rhode Island Dolls strip club is speaking out after receiving backlash for reopening this week for outdoor dining.
Andy Noyes has run the strip club for over 30 years, but due to COVID-19 restrictions, he shut down in mid-March.
“Our business and our industry haven’t got any help from the federal government or the SBA or the PPP loans. They actually blackballed our industry out of it.”
That’s why Noyes decided to open up RI Dolls for outdoor dining only. The strip club, located on Front Street in Woonsocket, will reopen Thursday, May 21.
“The zoning board told me last night that we’re not allowed to have entertainment so we’re gonna kinda switch up our plans a little bit.”
Noyes has set up his outdoor dining in the rear of the parking lot. He said there will be 19 tables, with 5 people allowed to sit at each. Reservations can be made on the club’s website.
But, he said, he may put up the stage anyway to generate tips for the dancers.
“City said no stage, I might leave it out there anyway and just maybe put a sign on it and maybe put a tip jar on the stage. People can walk by it and have a little gratuity for the girls who haven’t worked in about nine or ten weeks. Most of them can’t collect unemployment,” Noyes said.
He said he wasn’t surprised to see the backlash on social media after posting to Facebook that they’d be reopening in Phase 1. Noyes said many jumped to conclusions and assumed the worst.
“I wish everyone could open. I’m not a hater against any of them. I was wishing that everyone could open at the same time. But I don’t make the guidelines, I just try to follow them.”
But Noyes said it’s important that he reopens, as not only his dancers are in a tough spot, but also his managers, bar staff, floor hosts and waitresses. He said only 22 of his 100 employees are able to collect unemployment.
“It’s been tough for the employees to keep it rolling here and, you know, we gotta do something to help them get food on the table for their families.”
© WLNE-TV 2020