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Pub Owner: Capacity Curb More Harmful Than Curfew

By YOURI KEMP

Tribune Business Reporter

kemp@tribunemedia.net

A pub and restaurant owner says capacity restrictions rather than the 10pm curfew are more damaging to his business, adding that a few extra evening hours will do little to improve trade.

Marcian Sawyer, the Crew Pub's owner/operator, told Tribune Business that delaying the curfew's start by an extra hour or two would mean nothing to his business unless it was permitted to serve more customers.

He said: “To be fair, the curfew doesn't really matter to me. Based on my business, I would just like to have more volume. Like right now, the movie theatres and Mario's are getting to open up at certain capacity levels, but yet if you don't have a hotel license all the restaurants and bars and stuff - at least in Nassau - are having to remain restricted to curbside and takeout which, obviously for me, seems a little bit unfair.”

Asserting that few customers are ordering food after 7pm, Mr Sawyer said: “The curfew doesn’t really help me. It is more about he quantity of people I can have in my establishment.”

“Of course I would love to be able to remain open later and later, as any couple of dollars I could get would be beneficial. At the end of the day, your electricity doesn't change, your rent doesn't change. All these things are bills that remain the same, but yet you're making less money.

“It would be beneficial to have another hour, but it's kind of like we need a little bit more. An extra hour a day doesn’t do much. It’s about having the ability to have persons inside and spending money, like someone who can come in and, instead of buying a burger and leaving, I make I make the money on my burger and that's it. But how do you sustain paying rent and paying electricity?

“It's hard to keep the livelihood of the business going because you know that there's not enough hours in the day at the current state. You could give me 40 hours straight of operating at curbside and takeout and I still wouldn't be able to make as much money as just operating for 10 hours a day while being able to have people inside and enjoying themselves, even if it was socially distant and mask wearing and at a certain percentage. That's where it makes money; it’s the volume. So unless you're selling a $25 beer, an extra hour doesn't really make sense.”

Dante Carrer, owner/operator of the Poop Deck, though, said it would be “fantastic" if the Government delayed the curfew's start by an extra hour to 11pm as it has done on Grand Bahama.

"That would be fantastic, but I haven’t thought about the larger implications of it. From our perspective, most of our business is like always at the end, just before we close. So it would definitely have a positive impact on our bottom line," he added.

While welcoming an extra hour before the curfew started, Mr Carrer said allowing more people inside that at present will be “risky” for the Poop Deck. He added: “There is more to this than just money.

“I have been trying to get the attention of the Government, but I never heard back from them on multiple times. But things are not too bad with us considering the situation. We're lucky that we're able to at least open our doors and we're grateful for that. If everything stays the same until we get back to normal we should be OK.”

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