EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Thanksgiving Eve is usually one of the busiest nights of the year for bars across the country, but crowd sizes look a lot different in 2020.
“Thanksgiving Eve, before COVID, this place is usually pretty packed,” Jared Neible of High Score Saloon in Evansville said. “We usually have to have two bartenders and a door guy.”
In Evansville, many bars saw a fraction of patrons they normally would see the night before the holiday.
“We’re at 40% capacity here tonight,” Neible said. “We’ve removed all of our barstools from the bar and we even have some games turned off, that way to give people more space in between each other.”
On Franklin Street, another local bar taking precautions. A manager at Sportsman’s Grille told 14 News that signs are posted around the bar reminding customers of the city-wide mask mandate. They also said patrons are required to wear masks, except for when sitting at a table.
“We as business owners have a responsibility to keep our community safe,” Neible said. “We try to enforce it as much as possible, even going above the state-preferred mandates and we’re using that as a way to help our customers.”
Officials with the Vanderburgh County Health Department also weighed in on the topic, amid rising COVID-19 case numbers in the area.
“Wear your mask, do your best to keep your social bubble pretty small, pretty tight and social distance,” Joe Gries said. “If you don’t feel good, stay home. Or if you know a family member that wasn’t feeling good and you’ve been around them, stay home.”
14 News reached out to other bars on Franklin Street for comment, Chaser’s Bar & Grill said the establishment was taking precautions because of COVID-19, but refused to go into detail.
Additional bars declined to comment, as well as bar patrons.