Even before the city of Fremont eased restrictions on businesses reopening, Lauralee Miller said she received phone calls from regulars at Tin Lizzy Tavern asking when it would open back up.
“We just wish the best for everybody in regard to these times right now, and we’ll do our best,” she said. “If we find that we can’t manage this, we’ll take care of that, somehow, some way.”
On Monday, the city of Fremont launched phase two of its directed health measures with the COVID-19 pandemic. The guidelines include:
- Patrons will be required to be seated while on the premise unless they are placing an order or using the restroom.
- Bars are limited to 50% of its rated occupancy maximum.
- Parties are limited to six individuals. Larger groups must split into multiple tables.
- Food may not be eaten at bar seating.
- Different parties must have a 6-foot separation between seating.
- Patrons must keep a 6-foot separation between themselves and entertainers, performers or dancers.
- Games such as pools, darts or arcade games are prohibited.
The first directed health measure, issued March 26, ordered restaurants and bars to close their interior areas and move to either carryout, delivery or curbside pickup.
For bars across Fremont, this meant over two months of closure, and Tin Lizzy Tavern, located at 1682 E. 23rd St., won’t open its doors until Monday.
Miller, owner of the bar, said she wanted to ease the bar into opening to the public to make sure it follows guidelines from the Centers for Disease and Control Prevention.
“There’s businesses open everywhere where everybody’s just packed in constantly nonstop,” she said. “So we’re going to do everything we can to keep our patrons, our staff healthy based on those measures.”
But even with two months of closure, Tin Lizzy, as well as other bars in Fremont, kept busy with renovations and remodeling. Miller said she received help from Don Mahrt and Bobby and Tonnya Figueroa for the bar.
“Between us, we’ve remodeled it and redid the bar, refreshed it, repainted it, added some new things to it, re-stained it,” she said. “We made it sparkly, literally; we have it sparkled on the bar.”
Tin Lizzy also added a new air-breathing system from Aerus called Air Scrubber Plus, which uses technology from NASA.
The bar partnered with Getzschman’s Heating and Cooling to install the system, which provides a healthier breathing environment with the ongoing pandemic.
“We’re real excited about that because I think we’re the only place around the area, at least in a bar environment, that has something like that,” Miller said. “So we’re looking at that to keep us a little more germ-free so people feel better about that because it helps with your breathing and health.”
Other bars, including Silver Dollar Lounge at 1809 N. Bell St., also had remodeling before its reopening on Monday, bartender Dee Ashbrook said.
“We have silver dollars all over the walls, and over the years, a lot of them have been falling down,” she said. “So we got all of those fixed, got the bar cleaned up and re-padded some of the chairs and did a bunch of painting, just kind of cleaned everything up real good.”
Although Ashbrook said she understood why the Silver Dollar had to close, she wished the bar could’ve opened its doors sooner.
“But I was happy when it opened,” she said. “I was definitely ready to come back to work, I missed it.”
The Silver Dollar is currently at 50% capacity, only allowing 40 people in the bar at a time.
“We wipe everything down after everybody leaves and sanitize stuff and we wear the masks,” Ashbrook said. “And slowly but surely, we hope everything gets back to regular and we can have the bar back to the way it was.”
Miller said she feels enforcement of the new regulations should be easy for Tin Lizzy. She said the bar currently has its tables 6 feet apart with six chairs at each table.
“Right now, we’re still allowed to do darts and pool and games, so we’re not going to be doing that,” Miller said. “And then I think it’s at the place where people just want to hang out and meet people and say hi and do the social distancing.”
The bar’s karaoke nights held every Wednesday have also been affected in order to keep the patrons safe, Miller said.
“We ordered some disinfectant foam covers for the mic, and there’s a couple other steps that we’ve got in place with rubber gloves and things like that,” she said. “And they’re going to have to be seated while they sing.”
Although business at the Silver Dollar has been a little slow since its reopening, Ashbrook said she’s glad to see the regulars still coming back.
“We miss all of our customers,” she said, “and hope they’re all safe and wish they’d come back.”