CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The co-owners of Jeff’s Bucket Shop in Charlotte say they have used $20,000 of their own personal money to pay bills for their bar to keep it afloat.
They thought that was all they had to shelve out, but then Gov. Roy Cooper announced last week bars were not included in Phase 2 of reopening.
“I cried,” Jeff’s Bucket Shop, co-owner, Michaele Laria said. “I laid my head down on the bar, and I cried because enough is enough.”
Laria has owned Jeff's Bucket Shop with her husband Jeff for 17 years.
“We don’t want to have to start over in this phase of our lives when we are thinking, you know, another five to 10 years we can retire,” Laria said. “Now we can’t.”
Under the governor’s orders, restaurants are allowed to open in Phase 2 at 50 percent capacity. Laria says there are bars inside restaurants, and they feel that’s not any different than them.
“We know a lot of people in Charlotte, and even around the world that will be sitting at a bar in the restaurant ordering drinks and not ordering food,” Laria said.
Laria said she is worried they will have to use more of their personal savings to pay for the bar.
“Liquor licenses are coming due again,” Laria said. “They extended the time to June 18. We won’t be open June 18 to pay for our liquor license. That's another bill that will come from our own personal account.”
Laria’s biggest fear is not being able to reopen at all.
“We have never worried about not being able to open the doors, but if it goes another five weeks there is some serious worry,” Laria said. “Not just us, but other bars in the same predicament.”
Initially breweries, wineries, and distilleries that didn’t serve food were also considered bars. Cooper gave clarification on that Friday however, saying they can reopen.