Local bar owners relieved bar seating restrictions being lifted

Published: Apr. 23, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — For the first time in more than a year, seating at bars is back in Virginia.

Governor Ralph Northam made the change Wednesday afternoon, allowing restaurants to use their bar seating. However, bars still must follow CDC guidelines and keep seats between people six feet apart.

Local bar owners such as Aaron Ludwig, the owner of Billy Jack’s and Jack Brown’s in Harrisonburg, say they are excited to see more customers come in.

Ludwig says the timing feels right, and not being able to seat people at the bar this past year has been painful.

“It’s actually been the part that hurt our business the most, so this is a step that we’re really excited to be taking,” Ludwig said. “I heard there’s another announcement coming out in June. Hopefully, that lets us stay open even longer.”

Ludwig says he expects high demand now that the bar is open, and asks customers to continue being patient.

Donna Finnigan, the owner of Finnigan’s Cove in Harrisonburg, says she is excited about the amendment because the bar takes up a lot of their seating.

“Super happy. It was great because it lets us utilize our tables and not have a party of two people at a table that is meant for six, so that’s a huge difference,” Finnigan said.

Ludwig says through the pandemic, he and his staff had to get creative with expanding and outdoor seating to make things work, but looks forward to leaving the COVID-19 pandemic behind.

“It’s good to see us making more steps in the right direction. There’s still limitations we’re working with, but it’s really good just to see us being able to do the things that we love to do. Seating back at the bar and entertaining our guests,” Ludwig said.

Both owners say they are looking forward to hours being extended, and hope it will happen sooner rather than later.

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