Bar Rescue’s Jon Taffer: ‘I’m not certain a lot of bars will survive this’


LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Jon Taffer from “Bar Rescue” who is known for helping turn around failing bars says the shutdowns have been devastating to the bar industry.

He said staying afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic especially during the second round of closures is much more difficult for the businesses.

In Nevada, Governor Steve Sisolak ordered all bars that do not serve food to close on Friday, July 10, after coronarvirus cases started spiking again.

“I am concerned because based on our inspections thus far, fewer than half the bars that OSHA inspectors have visited have been found in compliance,” Sisolak said when he issued the directive.

Taffer, who lives in Las Vegas, told WSAV sister station KLAS that he doesn’t understand why bars and restaurants are being treated so differently.

“Bars and restaurants have the same air conditioning systems with the same air flow. They have the same density inside the rooms,” Taffer said. “If they’re both at 50% capacity and there’s the same amount of distance between guests and guests are wearing masks, I personally don’t understand the difference between a bar and a restaurant.”

He added that bars could use some of the same policies used at restaurants such as having guests remain seated and not approaching the bar to order a drink.

Meeting the COVID-19 safety guidelines have cost bar owners additional money.

“We’ve added expenses and cut revenues by 70, 80 and in some cases 90%,” he said. “Businesses can’t survive without revenue.”

The Nevada governor’s directive does allow for bars, where allowed, to offer curbside service.

However, Taffer suggests bar owners might be better off to stay closed and try to cut all expenses as much as possible.

“It’s going to be impossible to be profitable now,” Taffer said. “If I’m going to bleed money, then let me bleed less money. Let me know how much I’m going to bleed each month while I’m closed and let me keep my resources so I can open when the pandemic is over.”

He encourages owners to try and negotiate deals with landlords while they wait it out.

“We’ve sort of lost the light at the end of the tunnel on this second blow and I’m very concerned about the emotional state of business owners right now,” Taffer said.

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