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Half of Americans are in favor of extending bar operating hours to help businesses recover from the pandemic, reveals poll.
As bars and restaurants closed across the country to limit the spread of COVID-19, business owners in vulnerable industries have had to grapple with overwhelming uncertainty as well as financial risks over the past year. Meanwhile, tens of thousands of bartenders, bar managers, servers, dishwashers and cooks found themselves relying on government stimulus checks to make ends meet. And as millions of Americans receive their first vaccine doses and restrictions now begin to ease, many decision makers within these industries are exploring ways to help them recover to pre-pandemic levels, and get them back on their feet in the shortest time possible.

Rehabs.com, a leading provider of rehabilitation treatment resources and support, conducted a survey of 3,180 respondents (aged 21+), and found that the majority of Americans (57%) are in favor of extending bar operating hours post-pandemic to help these businesses recover financially. With the exceptions of Nevada and Louisiana, every state across the country has bar closure requirements  in place each night.

Those that felt most strongly about supporting their local drinking establishments are in cities and towns across South Dakota with 90% in favor of extending bar operating hours. Comparatively, only 27% of those in Massachusetts support extended operating times.
Rehabs.com created the following infographic illustrating these results across the US:

percentage of Americans who support extending bar opening

The research also delved into how long people think bars should be allowed to extend their opening hours for. After all, while allowing bars to operate as usual would certainly boost business, there is also the potential health impact to consider, which can include an increased risk of alcohol addiction. The survey revealed that respondents believe an average extension of 3.8 hours would be acceptable. Although drinkers would like to return to their favorite drinking establishments, it appears they are only willing to do so safely. More than half (55%) of those polled say they would report a bar to authorities if it wasn’t adhering to social distancing regulations.

Lastly, it does appear that even though the majority of respondents are not in favor of all-night bar openings, 49% would be keen on an (un)official date in which bars remain open all night to celebrate the end of the pandemic. A return, albeit a very brief one, to Roaring ‘20s style celebrations.

‘Although many of us may be tempted to let loose and party once safe to do so, it’s important to remember that your tolerance may have changed during months of lockdown. If you are, or suspect anyone in your social circle could be struggling with a substance dependency as a result of current circumstances, contact your local care clinic to find out what resources are available’ says a spokesperson for Rehabs.com.