Criticism Came When Students Without Masks Were Seen Standing In Line
In a passioned response to criticism that his establishment has been irresponsible after photos showed University of Alabama students lined up down the street without wearing masks, a Tuscaloosa bar owner fired back with a post on his Facebook page.
Gallettes owner Jeff Sirkin stated that all patrons inside the bar wore a mask, that the bar is operating at just 25% of its capacity and is following all the COVID-19 protocols, and that is is not the bar’s duty to require masks while people are lined up on the street.
High-profile University of Alabama people, including Athletic Director Greg Byrne and Crimson Tide football player Chris Owens, posted photos of students outside the bars. They pleaded with students o social media to wear masks so the campus doesn’t have a coronavirus outbreak, thereby possibly jeopardizing the 2020 football season.
“We did nothing wrong today,” Sirkin posted one day after students returned to campus. “Some of you saw “a picture” and assumed we chose to endorse anarchy and lawlessness. It is not my responsibility to police people 50 yards from the entrance to my front door on city property.”
Sirkin went on to state – in capitol letters, no less – that “EVERY SINGLE PATRON THAT ENTERED GALLETTES TODAY WORE A MASK. PERIOD.”
He is obviously upset at the perception of his bar created by the photo and reactions and is firing back like Mac Jones firing a pass to DeVonta Smith.
While Gallettes – the closest bar to Bryant-Denny Stadium on the University Strip – is complying by the rules, the students are being told to wear masks and social distance from each other. Among other things, college football 2020 is a season on the brink and with Crimson Tide games being a huge part of the Alabama campus life and an outbreak on any campus could cause SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey to pull the plug on it.
Here is Sirkin’s complete post:
I don’t get on a soap box here often unless it’s about a metal band or a dumb movie. Here it goes…We did nothing wrong today. We opened at 12 noon with a line down the block. But some of you saw “a picture” and assumed we chose to endorse anarchy and lawlessness. It is not my responsibility to police people 50 yards from the entrance to my front door on city property. Logistically it is impossible for me enforce you wearing a mask down the street while you wait to come inside. Every single patron that entered my establishment wore a mask. I’ll say it again…EVERY SINGLE PATRON THAT ENTERED GALLETTES TODAY WORE A MASK. PERIOD. The optics that some people saw with our line did not translate to what went on inside. We were at 1/4 of our capacity for the ENTIRE DAY. Well below the 50% threshold that is mandated after 9pm. We have gone above and beyond what is required by city and state mandates. We have been complimented numerous times by the Tuscaloosa Police Department how we have been running our establishment since the reopening, as have most of my colleagues in the service industry during these crazy times. If you think we just threw caution into the wind today because “we don’t want a football season and don’t care” you couldn’t be further from the truth. My employees have busted their ass to enforce what’s has been asked of them. Our industry is not the fallguy for any of this. 25,000-30,000 students showed up this weekend. Did you expect them to sit at home and read? We are doing all we can. We appreciate your continued support for the service industry. Thank you.