Council Bluffs bars to reopen May 28

Posted at 6:18 PM, May 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-23 19:25:52-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa — In less than a week, bars in Iowa can reopen for business.

Bartender Tessa Sanders says the past few weeks at Rodeo Saloon just haven't been the same since the pandemic hit.

"If you come in you obviously have to have food in front of you at all times so if you choose not to have food in front of you, unfortunately at this time we have to ask people to leave," Sanders said.

But that will change in the near future because Iowa bars can reopen on May 28 thanks to loosened restrictions from Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds.

The state is requiring bars to limit the number of customers present to at indoor and outdoor spaces to 50% of its normal capacity to ensure social distancing.

"I think everybody will be coming back out a lot," Sanders said. "This is the most popular place for Council Bluffs -- the hundred block is where everybody goes to have a night out usually in Council Bluffs -- so I think the businesses will be thriving next weekend, so I can't wait to see that."

The bar has always offered food, but most of their business came from alcohol sales.

"I think a lot of the people that don't want to come in to eat that miss being able to go get a cold drink and not have to eat after work are going to be glad to be able come in and get a beer or whatever they prefer," Sanders.

Practices have changed. Sanders now wears a mask to serve customers and the bar is only allowed to operate at half their capacity.

The owner of Rodeo Saloon also owns Cube Lounge next door.

It's been closed since March, and Sanders says she's glad fellow bartenders can get back to work soon.

"I just can't imagine what other people are going through," she said. "So I am so excited for everybody to have their jobs back to have another opportunity again because so many of us would have never expected to be out of work like this."

She also hopes customers remember how tough it's been for those out of work.

"We want you to come back we need your business, we thrive with your energy and your good business so we thank everyone for their business and please remember to tip your servers and your bartenders, and everyone taking good care of you."