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Local bars and breweries adjust to Phase 2 reopening guidelines in Knox County

Many bars and breweries took a big hit when the pandemic begin, but the pandemic is affecting each business differently.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn. — As many businesses try to bounce back after closing due to the coronavirus, they're dealing with changes put in place to protect people as they reopen.

It's been one week since bars welcomed patrons back in Knoxville and Knox County. Owners and general managers are making big changes to slow the spread of COVID-19.
           
Employees must:

  • Wear masks and gloves
  • Restrict seating or serving from an actual bar 
  • Reduce seating capacity to 50%
  • And keep tables at least 6 feet apart
               

They're necessary adjustments businesses need to make in order to stay open. Many bars and breweries took a big hit when the pandemic began, but now it is affecting each business differently.

RELATED: Knox Co. easing more restrictions on May 26, including bars, pools & libraries

Bearden Beer Market is an outdoor brewery and beer store which was able to make a profit by selling to-go drinks while their building was closed. Under the county's phase two reopening plan, the staff has reopened the outdoor seating area.  

“We've tried to do our best to make people feel as safe as we can,” said General Manager Chris DiPietro. “We don't want to give people a false sense of security. We want to make sure that we're not adding to the spread of any illness or anything.”

Local bars and breweries are trying new ways to make a profit under the guidelines. Some have started offering to-go beer sales, while others began reducing hours of operations. Some businesses are on the verge of shutting down.

RELATED: Knox County Public Library will reopen some locations on Friday

Myrtles Chicken and Beer closed their locations until further notice, announcing on Instagram, "They hope to reopen this summer."

During this time, general managers and owners of other bars are stepping in to help each other.

“All of my beers now on the draft board, if they're not ours they're from local breweries,” said DiPietro. “Since they were unable to pour their own for so long, we have only been picking up local stuff to try to show a sense of community and a sense of support.”