In January, business was thriving at bar and music venue Local 506. By summer, co-owner Robert Walsh said they were just focused on keeping the lights on.
Now, they are getting the chance to reopen their bar.
After being closed since March, bars, movie theaters and other entertainment venues are now allowed to reopen with capacity restrictions after Gov. Roy Cooper moved the state into Phase 3 on Friday.
Bars must operate at either 30 percent capacity or with 100 guests, whichever is less. They are also limited to outdoor seating only and will have to adhere to an 11 p.m. alcohol curfew.
Walsh, also the production manager of Local 506, said the business plans to reopen around Oct. 10 with strict health and safety guidelines.
“We have an outdoor space that we had to kind of build out, we’ll have sanitizing stations, we just bought 5,000 complimentary masks for guests that don’t have them and we’ll be in the bathrooms constantly wiping every single thing down,” Walsh said. “Health and safety is absolutely our priority.”
Live music venues like Local 506 have been hit especially hard by the pandemic. Walsh said the business had events booked through 2021 before the pandemic hit. But by March, they had set up a GoFundMe to help the business and its employees stay afloat.
Music halls and venues where guests are seated are allowed to reopen under Phase 3 with a 25-person indoor capacity limit. Walsh said for now, Local 506 is only opening as a bar.
“I don’t even know what the state of live music is going to be after this. It’s been devastating. It’s a miracle we’re still here,” Walsh said. “Our primary function is as a venue; the alcohol is like gravy. So this will be a learning experience and is a chance for us to maybe reinvent ourselves as a bar while live music isn’t here.”