Customer compliance causes COVID issues for Evansville bar

Customer compliance causes COVID issues for Evansville bar

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - A downtown Evansville bar owner is scaling back on the hours it will be open during the weekends.

The owner, Steven Alsop, says it is because many late-night customers are not being compliant with the rules during the pandemic, and it is creating a safety issue for staff members.

Alsop tells 14 News this is not a problem that recently popped up. He added it has recently gotten worse with the state of Indiana moving into the fifth and final stage of reopening plans.

At the corner of 2nd and Main, sits Peephole Bar and Grill. Signage on its door clearly lays out the rules, but owner Alsop says not everyone obeys.

“We’re our own worst enemies in the bar business because there is a number of popular bars in town that are not enforcing masking or social distancing, and it’s become an issue for the rest of us," explained Alsop. "Like I said, that’s the crowd we’re getting in that’s causing our issues.”

After temporarily closing in March, it reopened in mid-June.

Normal weekend hours would run until 3 a.m., but he says they will now close at midnight both Friday and Saturday.

“Every business owner has a responsibility to their community, over and above what financial ramifications this has,” said Alsop.

He says the disobedience from customers is creating safety issues for his staff, and the problem has gotten worse in recent weeks.

“Absolutely; they think it’s all over now," said Alsop. "We moved into the last stage and they think everything is safe. It’s absolutely not.”

A message from the business on Facebook ended by saying: “mask up when you are not seated or stay out of my bar.”

“It’s been tough on all of us," shared Alsop. "But we also have to recognize we have a responsibility to our community to keep them safe within our businesses as well.”

Peephole Bar and Grill got a lot of support in the comments section on social media.

Stage 5 is expected to last until one week from Saturday.

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