‘A record February’: Bar owner grateful for rebound in business 2 years after lockdown

BELMONT, N.C. — COVID-19 put a stop to St. Patrick’s Day celebrations two years ago, but this year, bars and restaurants saw business go back to normal.

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In fact, business has been better than before the pandemic for Sammy’s Neighborhood Pub in Belmont.

“It feels like every month is a record for that month,” owner John Bailey said. “A record January. A record February. A record September.”

On March 17, 2020, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued an executive order that required restaurants and bars to shut down their dining rooms, serving takeout orders only.

At that time, the global COVID-19 pandemic was just getting started.

“Because at that time, it was two weeks to flatten the curve,” Bailey said. “I thought, ‘OK, if this is the way. It’s going to be. I can make it for two weeks.’ Of course, here we are two years later still talking about it.”

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A restaurant owner, who did not want to be identified, said their business is struggling with staffing issues, while another pointed out a significant spike in the cost of supplies.

Bailey said support from Belmont and the community helped Sammy’s get through the dark times.

“I just can’t say enough about this community and how they stepped up and helped all the restaurants sort of make it through,” he said.

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