Island Wine forced to stay closed amid Covid-19, owner says loans were useless for her

Posted at 7:44 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 02:24:35-04

For locals, Island Wine is the hidden gem along the sandy beaches of Port Aransas.

The wine bar operates similar to a coffee shop but with a twist. You can come in, have a glass of wine , listen to music, hang out with friends , or do some reading in a tranquil setting.

But, under the state's current COVID 19 re-opening plan, this is one sanctuary that’s being forced to stay closed. Which is something Island Wine owner Lara White says she can’t do for much longer.

“Not opening is accumulating bills that are due every month one way or another,” said White.

“People are coming into town, they’re going to restaurants they’re going to a coffee shop; they’re going shopping.”

But even though Island Wine may look like a typical coffee shop, 51% of its sales come from alcoholic beverages, categorizing it as a “bar” under state law.

White says she applied for a Small business PPP loan to continue to pay her employees, but with the wine bar being forced to remain shut, the money is of no use.

“One of them now works full time for a restaurant that is open so I don’t know that I’ll get her back , and another one is collecting unemployment and with her getting 600 a week I don’t know that I’ll get her back,” said White.

Between having seven tables, several seating areas , and outdoor seating, the owner of Island Wine says any social distancing guidelines to reopen would be easy to follow

“We’re not a dance club and its not a typical bar, we don’t even serve hard alcohol just wine and beer,” said White.

“Hopefully the governors will see that there are places that are considered bars that aren’t going to be an issue when it comes to coronavirus.”

White says she’s months behind on her space’s rent, and she’s hoping the governor announces some sort of re-opening plans for bars just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

“We get all of our business basically spring and summer,” said White.