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Bars adjusting to phase 2 reopening

Sapphire.jpg
Posted at 10:21 PM, Jul 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-04 09:16:53-04

One Billings bar owner expects the Fourth of July weekend to be quiet, with many celebrating with family.

But during phase two of reopening, bars have been able to provide a place to go and business is getting better.

The Sapphire Lounge and Liquor store has followed the guidelines with distancing and sanitizing counters and machines.

Sapphire's liquor store did well while the bar and casino were closed.

Bars and restaurants can operate at 75 percent and that has been good for customers.

"After people were cooped up for 45 days, they need to be out and about," Corey Welter, Sapphire's owner. "It's just nice to see people among their friends. We're within 85 percent, 90 percent. It's moving in the right direction. Hopefully, everything won't shut down."

Welter is also president of the Yellowstone County Tavern Association and said many of the other bars are getting closer to normal.

An owner of a smaller bar tells Q2 the transition back has been easier for him than for many larger bars.