CAPE CORAL, Fla. — Sean Dunnigan says opening Ollie’s Records and Beer Pub in Cape Coral last October was a dream come true, then 5 months later the Coronavirus pandemic forced him to make changes and temporarily close.
“We’re asking people to wear masks, and social distancing as best we could, limiting the number of people we had in here. 5 months and the backup money is getting pretty thin,” said Sean Dunnigan.
Next came a second shut down after the state issued new regulations, saying bars and breweries must remain closed due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Recently, Dunnigan reached out to the Department of Business and Professional Regulation for answers.
“What we could and couldn’t do if there was some sort of timeline as far as when we would be able to open again? Numbers need to get to this point, percentages need to get to this point. Is there a reason why we can’t set tables up outside, serve beer outside, and have live music outside, just like a restaurant setting would?” said Dunnigan.
In an exchange of emails Dunnigan says, the D.B.P.R told him yesterday not to expect to reopen until January of next year and encouraged him to get a food license, ultimately putting a deeper hole in his pockets.
“For us, it’s not as simple as saying hey we want a food license, and we want to sell hot dogs or whatever, we have to go through the whole process,” said Dunnigan.
Dunnigan is encouraging other bar owners to speak up.
“We were ordered by the government to shut our doors, and then ordered by the D.B.P.R to stop selling alcohol, so by no fault of our own, and no help from the people who made these decisions, it’s very frustrating,” said Dunnigan.
Now Dunnigan tells me he is working to obtain that food license, but if things don’t seem to work out, he will be forced to close.