By Jessica Easthope
The front door of Yer Man’s Pub in Glendale, Queens has been locked for months and its employees, locked out and jobless.
“We need to open the backbone of New York and the backbone of America, we’ve worked too hard to go down,” Yer Man’s owner Jimmy O’Reilly said with tears in his eyes. “I’m not going down, I got a loan to keep going and I know I can come back.”
Yer Man’s is one of the millions of small businesses in New York City that closed temporarily due to COVID-19. According to the Governor’s office, it’s projected more than 100,000 will never open again. Jimmy is losing money by the hour.
“”I do $600,000 a year, maybe more. The last three months I maybe took in $10,000,” Jimmy said about the toll it’s taking on his business.
Like many other businesses, Yer Man’s closed its doors on March 15, not knowing when he would open them again. Now, nearly 90 days later, he still doesn’t know. Jimmy says he hasn’t been given any guidance from the government.
“We need to open, we have to open and our elected officials are not giving us any timeline of when, how, nothing, no guidelines, nothing,” he said.
Not only is Yer Man’s ready to open, but it’s ready to do it safely. A marine quality plastic barrier is one of the many safety precautions Jimmy and his staff have been working on to make social distancing inside the bar possible.
Jimmy has redesigned his entire bar in an effort to make customers feel safe — his livelihood depends on it.
“This is a partition I can remove. If two people sit here and they don’t know this person, no problem,” Jimmy said while showing Currents News of one of his designs.
He’s thought of every possible way people could come in contact with each other, and built a solution.
“Obviously they have to come in at their own risk,” Jimmy said. “But I will do my utmost best to keep it sanitary, keep it clean and keep it so that they’re safe.”