SIERRA MADRE (CBSLA) — Both Los Angeles and Orange counties are close to moving into the state’s less-restrictive orange tier, meaning bars that do not serve food could be on the cusp of reopening after almost a year.
“The Buccaneer Lounge has been closed for just shy of a year now,” Jennifer Higdon, whose family owns the Sierra Madre bar, said in a video.READ MORE: Prosecutors Request That Most Charges Be Dropped In Sexual Assault Case Against Newport Beach Surgeon, Girlfriend
In a desperate plea for help, Higdon made the video for Barstool Sports, an online media company that started raising money last year to help small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
“We’re very uncomfortable asking for help,” Higdon said in the video. “We are proud and this closure really has been a difficult time for us.”
But the video worked and got the attention of the Barstool Fund, which will cover the Buccaneer’s monthly expenses for at least three months.
“After the call, the money was in the account two days later,” Higdon said.
The financial relief was the lifeline Higdon needed for her popular dive bar that shut down last March. Since then, the bar has lost more than $500,000 in revenue while still paying out $8,000 per month in expenses like rent.READ MORE: Trader Joe's To Allow Fully-Vaccinated People To Shop Without A Mask
“There’s no organization to help us,” Higdon said. “It’s fend for yourself.”
Earlier this month, breweries and wineries that serve food were allowed to reopen at 25% capacity under the state’s red tier. Those that don’t serve were allowed to reopen for outdoor service with certain safety modifications, but bars were not included.
“We’re super happy for the breweries and wineries,” Higdon said. “It’s like, ‘What about us?'”
But even when L.A. and Orange counties move to the state’s orange tier, which means bars can reopen for outdoor service, there will still be restrictions.
“These are places where people cannot be wearing their masks and not keeping their distance for long periods of time if you’re not really careful,” Dr. Babrara Ferrer, county public health director, said.MORE NEWS: 2 LA Sheriff’s Detectives Involved In 2018 Drug Raid Indicted With Falsifying Police Report, Perjury
In anticipation of being able to once again serve customers, Higdon was setting up her outdoor patio in hopes that this time she will actually be able to reopen and people will show up to support their local bars.