Local bars facing dip in business amid Coronavirus concerns

Posted at 6:32 AM, Mar 19, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-19 12:41:41-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — As the health crisis soars, many people are staying home, which means less time at businesses like local bars.

Bar Under the Sun is a popular downtown hangout, but due to coronavirus concerns the bar closed for the week.

"My brother and his wife made that hard decision and they didn't take that lightly,” said Richard Lomax, vice president of Water Street. “They feel, as I do, a great responsibility to help stop this thing.”

Lomax and his family oversee Water Street businesses - which includes BUS and the Executive Surf Club.

He says business has slowed down considerably in just a week.

"So I think this is the trend around downtown right now,” Lomax said. “We went from on Wednesday building sales and running into Spring Break, up in sales for the year. Gonna be a great year...and then right after that concert, it was 27 percent down, 30 percent down over the weekend, and now we're still looking at about 30 percent down today. But I fully expect it to go to 50 percent down."

Lomax says despite business being slow, one of his main concerns is his employees.

"How do I save as many jobs as possible during this process? You know we start losing jobs and we start getting into a real tailspin,” Lomax said. “So that's kind of what's on our mind right now, what's the best actions we can take."

Adam Elliff is a bartender and says he averages over $500 a week. Bartending is his main source of income.

"You can definitely feel the air of anxiety throughout the entire hospitality industry here,” Elliff said.

He says he expects the bar he works at to eventually close temporarily.

"I mean, cause as we're seeing throughout the country things are shutting down everywhere,” Elliff said. “And while it's definitely scary to consider a definite delay in income, I mean we just gotta take it one day at a time."

Currently, there are no mandates to close the bars in town so owners have to take precautions for now.

"Our whole business is gathering and being members of the community and people want to talk.” Lomax said. “We're just gonna make that happen as responsibly as we can."

Lomax says he's already made changes such as canceling live music and food and beverage orders are being served outside in the patio area.

Other downtown bar owners say they'll make decisions on whether to close as the days go on.

For those businesses that serve food, they tell us they are eager to keep their to-go services running.

The House of Rock modified its business hours. The bar at the restaurant closes at 11:00 pm on weekdays and 12:00 am on Friday and Saturday.

Casey Lain, owner of House of Rock, has reached out stating they will continue live music, but only on a streaming platform. You can follow their Facebook page for more information.