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Bars get creative to stay afloat as Kern remains in most restrictive COVID tier

Local News

Local bars are struggling to see a light at the end of the tunnel as Kern remains in the purple, most restrictive tier of reopening under COVID.

This week, the county failed to move into the second, red tier. Bars are restricted from opening until the third, orange tier.

For Guthrie’s Alley Cat in Downtown Bakersfield, it’s been nearly six months since their doors have been open.

“This is our 80-year anniversary this year. This is not exactly the anniversary we were expecting to have,” said third-generation owner, Trisha Reed-Fike. “This is the alley I grew up seeing as a kid. You see people at their best, you see them at their worst, their happiness, their saddest.” 

What once was a bustling strip of bars downtown, including The Mint, Tiki-Ko, The Library, and Guthrie’s, are all still boarded up. Their fate remains uncertain for the next few months.

“I get (bars) are super spreaders. It’s hard to tell drunk people to stop hugging each other,” Reed-Fike said.

While Guthrie’s been selling merch and to-go cocktails to survive, they’re hoping for a shot at opening outdoors in the next few weeks with food provided by neighboring restaurants. They’re trying to salvage their 80 years of history.

“I just feel like the quicker we all cooperate and move forward together as a community, the quicker we can get through this,” Reed-Fike added.

She hopes other businesses who’ve ignored the orders to close won’t stop Kern County as a whole from moving out of this tier.

She trusts that the ol’ alley cat has a few more lives to live, and COVID won’t be their last call.

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