Bar operators in high spirits as their spots reopen today
Ian Smith was in high spirits yesterday as he helped his "favourite bar operator" Myrna Jarrett, and her bartender Olivia Bartley to clean up their establishment in preparation for reopening today.
Smith, who has been a customer of Myrna's Place in the Waltham Park area for approximately 10 years, says he is elated that his chill spot is back in business.
"This is where I usually come right after work and chill for a few hours. Is years I am coming here and these two ladies make me feel really welcome, so that is why I keep coming back. I am on my day off today so I decided to come and help clean up," he said.
The Government had ordered the closure of bars on March 18 in an effort to restrict transmission of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
"I feel really good because I have been in debt since it closed because this is my source of income. I have rent to pay for this place and although my landlord has not asked for it, I know it is still due. I also have other bills to take care of, so I am happy that we get a chance to open back our doors," said Jarrett.
Bar operators must follow strict rules to remain open. Among them is the stipulation that no more than five persons, including the bartender, must be in the establishment at any one time. No chairs or seats are allowed in the bars, masks must be worn, and the islandwide nightly curfew is also still in effect.
"Of course my sales will be affected because the bulk of customers come in the evening when they are coming from work, but I am appreciative of the fact that I can open again so I am willing to work with the new times," Jarrett said.
Bartley is also glad to be back and said that this is the longest she has been away from her customers in her eight years of working there.
"They (customers) will not be able to sit in the bar with me but we are going to give them chairs so they can sit outside and also ensure that at anytime there is not more than 10 persons outside," she said.
Kenisha Spencer was also busy setting up her sanitisation station at the entrance of her bar, also located in Waltham Park.
She told THE STAR that the closure hit her hard financially, and she even had to take out a loan to restock her shelves for reopening.
"I am still grateful for the opening hours. Usually sometimes we close at midnight but that can't happen right now. I am just hoping that the customers will not be unhappy because they will have to stand but that is the rule for now," she said.
Tricia Stewart and her daughter Aniecia Smith, operators of Tricia's Hot Spot in Seaview Gardens, were busy giving their business place a facelift for today.
Smith said they will be extending the bar space in order to meet the new criteria set by the Government.
"We will be taking down a partition and will also be very vigilant as it relates to the wearing of the masks and so on. As it relates to the amount of persons in the bar, I don't mind it because it will prevent idlers from coming in here and staying," Smith said.