SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) -The governor has extended the renewal deadline for alcohol licenses from September to December 31.
The Department of Business and Professional Regulations suspended on-premise consumption of alcohol at bars because of safety concerns after the governor had allowed them to re-open.
Since that point, many bar owners and employees have been struggling. Some have told ABC7 they had to file for bankruptcy and others had to get extra licensing in order to re-open.
“For quite a few thousand dollars I’m up and running. And what I had to do is to turn my bar and package into being able to prepare food, not just sell food, but be able to prepare it,” said bar owner David Monda.
An industry already struggling financially because of the pandemic having to dig deep in their pockets to survive.
“It’s money that you put away for retirement or money that you put away for all of a sudden you have to re-earn and try to save. And while you’re doing it, add to the expenses that you’re doing. It’s a tough job,” said Monda.
David Monda owns Nick’s Bar and they’ve been open for more than four decades. They say they only close on Christmas. Before the pandemic the only time aside from Christmas they have ever closed was because of Hurricane Andrew. So closing for more than five months has been a lot.
“That really hurt to watch my customers go away to watch my customers go away and when a customer leaves and they go somewhere for five months, that’s a hard customer to get back,” said Monda.
This week they re-opened with a food menu. It’s something Monda never imagined would need to be implemented after 43 years.
But many bars across the Suncoast and the state have had similar hurdles. Some bars were forced to close permanently or file for bankruptcy.