‘I Got a Family to Feed': Fort Lauderdale Bar Owners Rally Against Closures Amid Pandemic

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Owners of various bars and nightclubs in Ft. Lauderdale rallied outside one of the city's must iconic bars Tuesday afternoon, voicing their displeasure with the reopening process.

Outside the Elbo Room, a bar that's been on Los Olas Boulevard, for over eight decades, workers sent a clear. They’re  tired of being at home unable to come to work because of the COVID-19 rules preventing night spots from opening.

"I got a family to feed. These people need to eat. They are opening casinos. They are opening swingers bars.  We all know the risk. We gotta eat," one protester said.

Some bar workers said they were fuming after seeing reports Monday night that showed the good times rolling at a Hollywood restaurant where social distancing guidelines were being violated.

The City of Hollywood said the scenes showed that the rules they have in place weren't being followed. An executive order issued by Broward County executive allowed restaurants to reopen in May.

Jarrod “The Juice” who works at the Elbo Room said, “I’ve bar tended at this bar for over 10 years and its just painful to watch all these other businesses be allowed to do what we do just because they serve fries. Just having a restaurant license doesn't change anything. We’re trying to get this place open just to have a level playing field."

The Elbo Room’s operators say what’s fair is fair and bar workers deserve a chance too.

"It’s not fair that we are not open. We’ve been here for 80 years . All the places down the beach are open. We don’t serve food so we are limited. We have a patio. They can hang out outside and be safe and there’s no reason all of our employees have no jobs," Elbo Room owner, Tracy Penro, said.

NBC 6 reached out to the City of Fort Lauderdale. They said the county and state of Florida have the final say on bars and nightclubs reopening.

NBC 6 reached out to Broward County as well and is waiting for a response.

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