‘Blackout Wednesday’ could be a washout for local bars, thanks to the pandemic

MASON CITY, Iowa – They call it blackout Wednesday or even Drinksgiving.  It’s when college students who are home for the holiday go out with friends from their hometown and throw back a few drinks.

With the pandemic looming large over everything we do, could the blackout be a bust for local bars?

The Happy Donkey in downtown Mason City is known for their tantalizing tacos and nearly endless selection of tequila.  Owner Luis Garcia tells me bar business is down.

“The only thing that is helping us is because we are taking some take out orders,” said Garcia.

Governor Reynolds’ restrictions limits groups to eight people, unless it’s the same household.  Customers must be seated when eating or drinking and bars aren’t allowed to stay open until 2 a.m.

“We have to close at ten o’clock, so that’s another big thing that’s effecting, you know, all the business,” he said.

Garcia says he’s noticed less customers coming in with the most recent surge in COVID-19 cases.  Not only is he worried about his own business, but all small businesses who could be impacted.

“There’s a totally big difference now with the pandemic coming back. So, now it’s effecting all the businesses, I think it’s not just us.”

Still, Garcia is grateful for his loyal customers and he plans on showing his gratitude, appropriately on Thanksgiving.

“We are able to have free meals tomorrow, turkey, that’s open to the customers, to the public.”

Garcia also says he does understand the need for the pandemic restrictions, in order to keep COVID-19 from spiraling even further.

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