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Local 5 - weareiowa.com | Des Moines Local News & Weather | Des Moines, Iowa

Bars struggling to get by amid pandemic

Being able to sell alcohol to go did provide a boost for bars, especially, but it's still not nearly enough to get by.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Restaurants and bars have done a lot of adapting these last couple months, as they were forced to shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic.  Bars especially are struggling; the go-ahead to sell alcohol to go helped, but it's not nearly enough to get by.

Joe McConville is the owner of Gusto Pizza, Juniper Moon and El Guapo's Tequila and Taco in the Des Moines area.  He says this pandemic has hit his businesses hard, and he understands why.

"The first two weeks we saw a lot of support," McConville said.  "But then, like everyone else, they don't know when it's going to be over, so they can't keep eating out every night.  So it did wane a bit."

He says getting the ability to sell alcohol did give a boost, especially to the bars.

"With a place like Juniper [Moon], we had zero revenue coming in," McConville said.  "Insurance wasn't covering it; our business interruption insurance wasn't covering it for any restaurants because they all have these little pandemic clauses, and you think 'when are we ever going to have a pandemic?'"

Offering liquor to go does have its hurdles, though; mainly trying to find a balance in competing with retail prices to be able to make a profit.

"You find that spot between liquor store and sit down restaurant.  You just kinda find that spot that people are willing to pay for," McConville said.  "It's still not anywhere close to being able to pay the bills, but a few hundred dollars here and there is worth the effort; it's better than not having a chance at all."

Restaurants and bars in Des Moines will remain closed until at least May 15.

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