Clubs and social distancing: safe protocol could cause doors to close

Friday, March 20, 2020
News 12 at 11 o'clock/NBC at 12

(Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) -- For a Friday night, downtown Augusta is normally raving with crowds. However, with social distancing making people stay home, club owners are deciding whether to stay open or closing their doors.

“Tonight I will be staying home.”

“If you’re going to catch it you’re going to catch it.”

“So for tonight, I think I’m just going to be at home.”

Though some people decided to stay home tonight, others are still going out.

It’s not a typical Friday night. Now when you’re going out and clubbing plans could have repercussions.

Over the past week, experts and city leaders advised people to stay at home and practice social distance. For older nightclub owners, deciding whether to keep their doors open wasn’t an easy choice.

“Due to the coronavirus we are closing the doors,” Donna Chin, supervisor, said. “If we continue to open our doors were are going to have it spread.”

Natalie Changclassic is the owner of a brand new night club downtown. She said during their grand opening, nearly 300 people came out to see what they had to offer. To her, no amount of money compares to the safety of customers.

“That’s a large crowd and if we open we would put them at risk,” Changclassic said.

But other clubs like Chevy’s night club are taking a different route. It’s business as usual, staying open until 2:30 a.m.

“I think each individual business needs to make their own mind up as far as what’s best for them,” Mike Snowberger, the owner of Chevy’s said.

One of Snowberger’s main reasons for staying open is to give his employees their only source of income. There’s not a specific number of people he’s allowing inside but he will try to keep the crowd within reason.

“I’m making the decision I feel like is best for my business, he said. “I feel like it’s coming that they are going to force me to shut down.”

Things may change and Snowberger, like other club owners, will probably support the decision to close down.

Other clubs like Club Velvet, The Scene, and Garden City are continuing to keep their doors closed until further notice.

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