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Omaha bars, lounges and taverns waiting out coronavirus

Posted at 6:27 PM, Mar 27, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — The coronavirus outbreak has hit bars, taverns and lounges especially hard.

While some places have been able to sell food to go, others haven’t and have simply shut their doors until things clear up.

The Green Room in downtown Omaha just opened this year.

“You know like two months, five days, who’s counting though, right?” says Matt Owens, co-owner and manager of the Green Room.

They quickly found momentum as Omahans seemed to like their vibe and craft cocktails.

“We were cruising man, we were so ready, the word was getting out and people started recognizing what the Green Room was, what we’re about, we started developing this identity and then, badda bing botta boom, corona,” says Owens.

So now the barstools sit empty, glasses and chairs flipped upside down and their 11 employees have no job.

“Yeah, we had to do a mass firing,” says Owens.

“To get you what you need from the government, we got to like.. see yuh.”

To get unemployment benefits, you have to laid off your job, so that’s what the owners of The Green Room did.

“It’s a super crazy spectrum of where I have some employees who are getting a check that will actually help, I have that were denied and everything in between,” says Owens.

The owners have made some money off packaged booze and expect to make more that they can sell craft cocktails to go, hoping their neighbors downtown continue to support them.

On many Friday evenings, Maloney’s Irish pub is full of people that want to kick back and celebrate the weekend. But obviously it’s going to be closed this weekend.

So the owners are taking the time to spruce the place up a bit knowing at some point, they’ll be able to open back up.

“We have the time to do things, renovations that we haven’t wanted to, we eventually want to get our kitchen up and going, that was a main goal, that’s where some of the money from Saint Patrick’s Day was going to go,” says Kris Falkenhainer, co-owner of Maloney’s Pub.

Losing that Saint Patrick’s Day money hurt the Irish pub quite a bit.

“We had everything set up, ready to roll and then not being able to do that, the take down from that was you know, sad and depressing,” says Jordan Ellis, co-owner of Maloney’s.

Owners Kris Falkenhainer and Jordan Ellis hope they can celebrate the Irish holiday in the spring instead, returning to normal by mid-summer to serve their customers they call family.

“I am an unlicensed therapist. We here for everybody that comes in here to aid in any way we can,” says Falkenhainer.

Owens thinks when customers do come back they’ll appreciate the service industry workers a bit more.

“Sort of that classic adage of, you don’t know what you have until it’s gone,” says Owens.

Owners of both bars say the recently passed stimulus package could help them, they’re just not sure exactly how yet.