Bar staffers anxious over new COVID-19 restrictions: 'We have to figure this out together'

Posted at 6:58 PM, Nov 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-14 19:01:51-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- Governor Ralph Northam is tightening COVID-19 restrictions as the percent-positivity continues to rise in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

The percent-positivity across the state is now at 6.5%, up from 4.7% back at the start of October. Earlier this week, Northam also expressed concern about the upward trend in COVID-19 increases in the number of cases, hospitalizations.

The new restrictions are now putting worry into the minds of restaurant and bar owners in the City of Richmond.

"Can we make it through this again, is a big, big heavy thing on everybody," Derrick Washington said.

Derrick Washington, who helps manage several bars and restaurants in downtown Richmond, is worried about how the new restrictions Northam has planned to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Virginia will impact business.

The new guidelines state that restaurants and bars must stop the sale of alcohol at 10 p.m. and close by midnight.

Washington said that is during peak hours.

"For a lot of bars, that 10 o’clock to 2 a.m. hour, is where most of the profits come from," Washington said. "We all just got staff back -- and that's a big issue for us now to turn around and say, 'I’m not going to be able to keep through this because I’m not going to be able to hit the sales.'”

The guidelines also will reduce all indoor and outdoor private and public gatherings from 250 people to 25, which will not apply to businesses, restaurants, schools, gyms or churches.

Something health professionals believe is necessary as we head into the winter season.

"We all move indoors; we all move in closer to people and that proximity is one thing that helps spreads this," Dr. Carlton Stadler, member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, said.

Stadler believes the death toll nationwide could rise by January if people don’t take precautions.

“I would anticipate we could have probably just under 400-thousand by the end of January or February," Stadler said.

Washington is hopeful his businesses can survive and that everyone can help get this virus under control.

"This is where we are now because people haven’t been doing it the right way so we all just have to figure this out together," Washington said.

Depend on CBS 6 News and for the most complete coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 Precautions

Most patients with COVID-19 have mild to moderate symptoms. However, in a small proportion of patients, COVID-19 can lead to more severe illness, including death, particularly among those who are older or those who have chronic medical conditions.

COVID-19 spreads primarily through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

Symptoms include fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. Symptoms appear within 14 days of being exposed to an infectious person.

Virginia health officials urged the following precautions:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid non-essential travel.