Wichita mayor searching for bar and restaurant help during pandemic restrictions

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Mayor Brandon Whipple is talking to bar owners and restaurant owners to try and find some help.

“So, they have restrictions in place. Bars closed and restaurants have to close early that sell alcohol,” said Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple. “I’m getting creative in finding ways to help them.”

Whipple says he wants to start with the federal government.

“Put together packages that would help bar owners and employees but realistically we need some help from the federal government,” said Whipple.

The mayor says the city is working with bar owners, as well as some restaurants, to give them a break on liquor license fees and parking fees.

“That is a start, but that is nothing major,” said Whipple.

Blu Nightclub in West Wichita is closed. Darren Greiving is the owner.

“Help? I will believe it when I see it,” said Greiving. “We worked really hard at masks. We bought a bunch. We worked at telling people they have to use the mask if they are up from their table. You can see we have signs everywhere.”

Greiving says even though they worked hard at masks and social distance, they still had to close.

“I do feel like we (bars) were singled out,” said Greiving. “A lot of mom and pop bars, the smaller bars, really worked hard at complying with all the ordinances. We sure did.”

Greiving says Blu Nightclub has a large outdoor patio.

“We would be happy to just use that and have people still social distance, even outside,” said Greiving.

The mayor says outdoor use may be a way to get some bars back in action.

“I’m working with our city staff right now that would allow bars to spill out into the sidewalks and also some of the roads,” said Mayor Whipple. “Because eating outside is safer.”

Greiving says any way to get open again would help even if it’s in a smaller capacity.

“The bills are still there,” said Greiving. “Something has to give. You can’t just close like this and stay a business.”

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