Bar owners are breathing a sigh of relief as COVID-19 restrictions continue to lift.
Local bar owners keeping 'glass-half-full' attitude amid reopening
That's good news to bar owners scraping by during the pandemic.
News 18's joe paul spoke today with the owner of riehle's neighborhood bar and grill.
He joins us live tonight to share how that owner is reacting as bars are slowly allowed to reopen.
It's been almost a year since the first covid-19 restrictions were levied on bars and restaurants.
It started in march with statewide stay- at-home orders.
And as of this week many of the restrictions are a thing of the past.
<nat pop the kitchen is busy at riehle's neighborhood bar and grill in lafayette.
But o much, says owner tom riehle.
Riehle: "of course it cut down on business a little bit, but we got through it.
We didn't come through with flying colors but we were fortunate to hold our own."
He's talking about the 1 a.m.
Curfew on bars in tippecanoe county.
It was lifted after the county's covid-19 positivity rate remained below 10 percent for four consecutive weeks.
As part of the amended health order, bar-top service is allowed at all hours.
Tippecanoe county health department administrator khala hochstedler says the restrictions allowed businesses to remain open during the pandemic.
But she says it's crucial that bars and their patrons remain vigilant with social distancing and mask- wearing.
Hochstedler: "because we want to keep the lower numbers so that we can keep this trend going and not reverse it, so it's going to take the community working together so we can keep this."
With news that some march madness games will happen in west lafayette and a limited number of fans will be allowed... riehle hopes business spills over to his bar.
Riehle: "this year we want to go big guns, have a good crowed, have good food and drink for the people and just have good camradery for our boilermakers.
But hochstedler cautions that excitement around the tournament could result in yet another spike of covid-19 cases.
Hochstedler: "anytime that there's an event that people want to gather that is the risk so just reminding people to be careful and social distance and do it smartly."
Bars are still limited to 50 percent indoor capacity and dance floors must remain closed.
Riehle tells me he found a silver lining during the pandemic.
Rather than sit on his hands, he took time to remodel the building and bring it up to code.
Reporting live in lafayette, joe paul, news 18.
Local medical professionals say