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Oakland bars find ways to connect with students amid strict COVID-19 rules

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    Oakland bars find ways to connect with students amid strict COVID-19 rules

    What once was a bustling bar filled with hoards of students and longtime regulars, Gene’s Place is now much quieter on the weekends. Eugene Ney, owner of the Louisa Street bar, said he quickly adapted to changing health and safety regulations but still worries about the long-term effects they will have.

    “Right now I’m limited to takeout, and in all honesty it’s better now that school’s back, but it’s still only a fraction of what it used to be,” Ney said. “You’ll have some good nights, and you’ll have your bad nights, too, but at least there’s something coming in and it’s covering expenses.”

    According to the Pennsylvania Health Department, bar service is currently prohibited, and alcohol may only be served in the same transaction as a meal. Takeout sales of alcohol are also permitted for off-site consumption.

    Ney said while specific regulations are making it harder for his business to bring in more revenue, he is thankful he does not have to worry about rent payments.

    “I’m actually in some ways very fortunate because I own the building that my bar is in,” Ney said. “But a bar that has to pay rent every month that doesn’t have that money coming in, they’re having some problems, and it’s going to hurt a lot of bars.”

    Many bars do not see how they can profit under the ever-changing county and state orders. Popular Oakland spots such as Garage Door Saloon and Hemingway’s Cafe are currently closed. Mario’s Oakland Saloon joins Gene’s…

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