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Marion County bars and nightclubs can reopen, but it's a mixed bag

COVID restrictions still make it hard on owners
Posted at 12:13 AM, Sep 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-08 00:13:42-04

For weeks, several places that most would consider bars have been operating as restaurants so they could stay open. Mena Hawkins, owner of Weeble's Bar and Grill on the northeast side, hasn't been fortunate enough to do that.

"You can imagine how bad it is," Hawkins said. "Selling only carry out for food, you can't even pay a light bill."

Hawkins is worried about the place she's owned for 40 years. She knows other small business owners like herself are in the same boat.

"They keep doing us this way and we'll all have shut down. We cannot pay the bills," Hawkins said.

While Marion County is allowing bars and nightclubs to reopen, Hawkins tells WRTV that the 25% capacity and no bar seating isn't going to help businesses like hers.

"Just come down [here] and sit down, watch TV? They might as well stay home. [There's] no entertainment or nothing. It's ridiculous," Hawkins said.

Hawkins worries her regulars have already found new places to go. Weeble's Bar and Grill is close the county line where people can drive 10-15 minutes and eat/drink in places with less restrictions.

Hawkins tells WRTV she's worried about paying her property taxes in November. She'd like the county to come up with a program to help those struggling like herself.

"I've been paying [my taxes] the last 40 years, over $10,000 a year. How am I going to pay that bill now? We need some help," Hawkins said.

Marion County did have a program to help small business owners, but applications for grants are now closed. There are other options for small businesses in Indiana. They can apply for grants through the Small Business Restart Fund which was approved by Gov. Holcomb. It's still accepting applications.

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