Killeen: Local bars struggling to stay open

Published: Jul. 5, 2020 at 4:49 PM CDT
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KILLEEN, Texas (KWTX) - Local bars around the state and in Central Texas are struggling to stay afloat after Governor Greg Abbott recently ordered them to shut down again due to a rise in COVID-19 cases.

For Joker’s Ice-House Bar & Grill owner Jack Thompson, an empty bar is the last thing he wanted to see.

“My initial reaction made me sick to my stomach,” he said.

“I have 22 employees and I’m fixing to have to tell them they’re unemployed. In two months, I’ll be in severe financial distress.”

Thompson says since the Governor’s decision, he’s struggled to make ends meet.

“We’ve done $2,600 worth of sales,” he said.

“That didn’t even cover my utilities, much less trying to pay employees and do other things.”

Recently, several bar owners filed a $10 million federal lawsuit against Governor Abbott trying to void his executive order. They claim that Abbott should’ve given businesses more than 24 hours notice before shutting them down again.

Thompson says he agrees with the lawsuit and says more could be done by the TABC to protect bars like his.

“TABC has excess money in their annual income,” he said.

“You know, that could be used to help sustain the businesses that pay for it. I haven’t heard anything come out of that.”

For now, Thompson says he’ll continue to heavily advertise takeout online and through social media to stay afloat. Despite his attempts, he adds that it’s hard to be optimistic about the bar he’s owned for more than ten years.

“There’s people not coming in and sitting down,” he said.

“I’m afraid we’re probably gonna end up closing down if this goes too long.”

Copyright 2020 KWTX. All rights reserved.

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