Butte small businesses meet to discuss difficulties of COVID-19 restrictions

Posted at 10:26 AM, Jan 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-05 12:26:49-05

BUTTE — About 20 Butte businesses owners met at an Uptown restaurant to express concerns about how Health Department COVID-19 restrictions have negatively impacted their business.

Some city officials were on-hand to hear these issues.

“You know, there’s nothing wrong with people coming to the table and expressing their opinions and views, I think it was down very well,” said Small Business Development Center director Julie Jaksha.

About 10 business owners spoke up at the meeting hosted by the owner of La Casa Toscana to let Butte’s newly elected Chief Executive J.P. Gallagher learn about their issues with the health department’s mandates that limit business capacity to 50 percent and require social distancing. Many of the business owners were bar and casino owners who are subject to close early.

“The restrictions have helped. I know not everybody likes them, but you know there’s light at the end of the tunnel, the vaccine's coming, you know, and we’ve made it this long and, like I said, we’re going to do what we can to help the local businesses survive this,” said Gallagher.

Some of the people who spoke were representatives of the local bars and casinos and said their biggest problem was with the 10 p.m. shutdown, saying that it was difficult for them to make money with this early closing time.

“They’d like to see those hours kind of broadened and maybe that’s something that we could look at as we move forward, as the vaccinations come out and things start to hopefully get better,” said Jaksha.

Gallagher added that if positive cases start to go down, restrictions, including moving the closing time back, can be loosened by the health department.