As if county and state-imposed restrictions weren’t tough enough, many brewery owners are enduring extra headaches from some of their customers. North Park Beer Co. stopped offering on-site drinking on July 1, even before mandated to do so, due to concerns over staff safety. The following comes from company founder Kelsey McNair:
“We re-opened for dine/drink-in for nearly two weeks and ultimately became exhausted by many guests who treated our staff like crap and made them feel unsafe.
“We observed consistent non-compliance with the Public Health Order. Many patrons would walk in without face masks on and/or they would neglect to put their masks back on when walking to/from restrooms. We observed several large groups arrive who appeared to be bar hopping. At one point over the weekend we had a group of 15 (?!) arrive and many in the party tried to order ‘Jack & Cokes’ (we don’t serve liquor…). On a couple occasions, patrons tried to pick fights with managers over not wanting to wear their masks. We saw several progressive meetups where over the course of hours people would come and go from tables, all in all just very irresponsible behavior.
“There were plenty of good customers too, who would diligently abide by our house rules, but when one person doesn’t follow the rules, the damage is already done. We ultimately felt overrun and my staff completely demoralized. All the while we were utilizing a host with a scripted dialogue about our rules, assigning tables, using aggressive cleaning and sanitizing all high-touch surfaces… we were doing everything as right as we could.
“The real problem is that you can’t control the actions of the public, even in your own space. It is impossible to provide good hospitality in this environment when at the same time you’re forced to be the face mask police. This is a really fucked up time to be in the service industry where many business owners are worried about their livelihood and the longevity of their business.
“However, the safety and well-being of our staff is our absolute highest priority even if it causes us a financial burden. If we can’t keep our staff safe, then we have no reason to provide on-site indoor drinking service even if the county allows it.
“We’ll be operating with beer to-go, local delivery, and statewide shipping for now. We’re now investigating options for installing an order window and utilizing the public right of way outside our space as a place for guests to enjoy our beer in a safer setting without causing our staff to feel unsafe.”