OKC bars and restaurants wind down again…

There is NOTHING I miss more than sitting at my favorite dive bar and having a Coor’s Banquet and shooting the shit with my bartender friends, or going to a cheap Tex-Mex joint and filling up on chips and queso and drinking a frozen margarita out of a frosty goblet. Hell, as a service industry lifer, I miss going to work.

But COVID cases still aren’t flattening out, so I’m still staying coronatined in my hidey-hole because I don’t wanna get sick and possibly die or make other people get sick and possibly die. And lots of bars and restaurants are having to make difficult choices right now. Just over last weekend, I counted over 20 places that were either closing or going back to curbside because of employee exposure.

Yesterday, Mayor Holt made this announcement. From KOCO:

Mayor David Holt released a new list of mandates for restaurants, bars and other venues in an attempt to limit people’s exposure to COVID-19.

Holt said starting Friday, all employees of restaurants and bars must wear masks and bar capacity will be lowered to 50%. He also said all venues with theater-style seating – such as weddings, funerals and churches – will be staggered.

The new restrictions will be in place for two weeks.

Although Holt has not issued a mask mandate for Oklahoma City, he did encourage people to wear them. He said he hasn’t issued a mask mandate because it would be impossible to enforce.

Holt added that private businesses have the right to require customers and patrons to wear masks, just as they require shirts and shoes. Private businesses’ rights will be protected if they decide to mandate mask wearing.

The latest restrictions come after the mayor said the Oklahoma City metro area’s coronavirus numbers remain at an elevated level. He said that elevated level is manageable but is on the edge of an unmanageable level, especially with the Fourth of July weekend approaching.

This is at least SOME level of effort. The last several weeks, he’s just been posting soaring COVID statistics on social media with commentary that basically said, ‘Welp, wash your hands, thoughts & prayers!’ and hasn’t taken any real action to enforce mask policies or close bars down.

The troubling part to me is that it is impossible to enforce social distancing at bars where people are moving around and mingling, and you can’t eat or drink with a mask on. We need more state and federal bailout money for the service industry. If we can constantly bailout shitty banks and huge corporations and have an insanely disproportionate military budget, there’s money in the banana stand for these small businesses so they can shut down for a little bit.

Maybe before the end of the year, if you all can actually take this seriously and wear your masks and stop going out, I’ll get to go out and do karaoke with my friends and go to Waffle House at 3am again. Until then, it’s bunker life.