NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Bar workers protest not being able to work, call for bars to reopen

Posted at 8:13 PM, May 19, 2020

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Dozens of bar workers lined Manatee Avenue in downtown Bradenton on Tuesday afternoon holding signs and protesting because they want bars to reopen.

"We’re devastated. Our employees are devastated, we feel for them," said John Russo owner of The Seahorse Lounge and Pour Decisions in Sarasota.

Bars have been closed across the state since St. Patrick’s Day. Leaving bar workers without income for more than two months.

"We were the first ones to shut down and clearly we’re going to be there last ones opening back up. That’s what we’re trying to call attention to," said Russo.

Bar workers held signs the read "Open our bars" and "We have families too." Supporter honked as they passed by the protest.

"What is the difference if everyone is over 21 and they’re being served six feet apart by a server that has a mask and gloves? Why does it matter if it's a martini or a Diet Coke?" said Russo.

Breweries have suffered as well.

"It's been brutal. We went from having our best quarter one ever, to just months of nothing," said Barry Elwonger, with Motorworks Brewing.

Motorworks, a Bradenton brewery, falls under a different set of rules because they are able to have food trucks and plenty of outdoor seating. They said they should be able to open by the end of this week.

As for bars, there is no indication as to when they will be able to reopen.