Lubbock bar owner asks Governor for chance to reopen businesses

Updated: May. 13, 2020 at 10:55 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - We’re hearing from a local entrepreneur who owns several businesses that will not re-open on May 18. This comes as Governor Abbott announced during his May 5 news conference that bars will not be able to reopen in some capacity for the foreseeable future.

Michael Clintsman owns three bars on Broadway St., across from Texas Tech University; all of which are unable to open because of the Governor’s directive.

He owns Atomic Lounge and Pizza Kitchen, Local Bar and Grill and Bar P-M, all of which are not able to open at this time, because their overall sales are more than 51 percent alcohol.

“For the first time in my professional career I’ve been scared for myself, my livelihood and my family,” said Clintsman.

“I think it’s kind of hard and unfair for the government to come in and take away my right to make a living. It’s really frustrating that I’m not even given the opportunity to abide by the CDC guidelines,” Clintsman added.

He says during this time of year, with college finals and graduations, his businesses would normally be very busy. However, instead of customers filling the tables and chairs, they sit empty, 12 feet apart.

“May is the busiest time of my year and we use that money in that week and a half to get to the slow time of the summer. That’s how we’re able to keep going year after year and we’ve lost that opportunity to put our acorns away and make it through the summer.”

Clintsman says while the government issued the Paycheck Protection Program to help small businesses, he will not be able to utilize the funds because the parameters dictate that a business must use 75 percent of the money received on payroll within eight weeks for it to be forgiven. But, since his doors are closed, that won’t work.

“I’ve literally had no help from the government, but they’ve taken my business away.”

He says his request to the Governor and the strike force is simple, “I feel like every job is essential, because people are trying to provide for their families. And I understand people may not be comfortable coming out, and I respect that...but, I would at least like to have the opportunity to abide by the CDC guidelines and prove that we can.”

Michael says he’s been in contact with Representative Dustin Burrows and Congressman Jodey Arrington during these past few weeks and that he’s hopeful the Governor will listen.

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