During a Thursday meeting of the Alabama Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, bar owners hoped the group might change the restrictions put in place to combat the spread of COVID-19 -- currently, establishments have to stop selling drinks at 11 p.m.
Instead, the board decided to table any discussion of loosening the restrictions, saying they decided to change the order they originally planned on talking about Thursday.
At Huntsville's Sports Page Lounge & Deli, a co-owner said it’s a truly neighborhood bar and one that usually caters to service industry members.
Mike Roberts said the current restrictions prevent many of their regulars from coming in and said that even being able to serve drinks an additional hour would make a difference in his bottom line.
He said the bar could make between 15-20% more each night if they had an additional 60 minutes to serve customers.
Even with the hit to business, he said the bar’s regulars are still coming in -- which has been a big help.
Roberts added Thursday that he understands that the current restrictions are in place for a reason and impact everyone.
“It is what it is,” he said. “We have to do what we have to do, right? All of us do. I’m sure the ABC doesn’t want to shut us down that early -- our revenue pays their salaries, at the end of the day. It all is a big circle, it’s hurting them financially, just like it’s hurting us financially to do so.”
The ABC board told WAAY 31 they could call an emergency meeting to take another look at the current regulations as soon as next week.
Roberts said any changes made by the board that allowed for longer service hours would be “huge.”
“Even if it was half an hour, we’d be happy to get it,” he added.