COVID-19 restrictions

At 10 PM, VA Restauranteurs Can Only Watch as Customers Cross Street to TN Bars

Everyone knows that the coronavirus is far more transmissible after 10 p.m., right?

Bristol, Virginia is located in the western part of the state on the Tennessee border, nearly 400 miles from Washington, D.C.

State Street, located in the downtown area, separates it from its twin city of Bristol, Tennessee. According to CNN, “though split across two states, Bristol is one community, with one chamber of commerce.”

Different states, different governors, different rules.

Outkick’s Clay Travis interviewed J.J. Gillenwater and Blair Jones, the owners of a restaurant in Bristol, Virginia.

These men must issue a last call to their customers at 9:30 p.m. because state COVID regulations require them to close at 10 p.m.

Gillenwater told Travis they watch as their customers “cross the street into Bristol, Tennessee,” where there are no COVID-related curfews, and carry on. “You can watch it every evening.”

“We’re being held to a standard from northern Virginia, the D.C. area. It’s ridiculous. It’s two totally different areas of the country,” Gillenwater added.

Jones said, “We are consistently losing money because of these restrictions. Live entertainment has been curtailed which has impacted our late-night sales having to shut down at 10 p.m. It’s been a real killer for us.”

The two were hoping for some relief at the end of January. Instead, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, best known for his support of late term abortion and posing for a photograph in college wearing blackface, extended his executive order to remain in effect through the end of February.

The current rules for Virginia restaurants can be viewed here.

CNN reported on the situation in Bristol last May. At that point, Virginia restaurants were closed. However, Tennessee’s Republican Gov. Bill Lee had allowed restaurants to open on a limited basis on April 27 in his state.

Virginia restaurant owner Joe Deel spoke to CNN at that time. His business had fallen from an average of $1,500 a day to $90.

“If there’s a virus over there, it’s over here,” Deel told CNN.

As mentioned above, the differences between the D.C. metro area of Virginia and the part of the state where Bristol is located, are substantial.

“Maybe the restrictions should be more about county, area code, region and maybe not statewide,” Deel suggested. “I did hear him in one of his earlier comments say he was going to take care of the state of Virginia from Richmond to Roanoke. And I would like for him to know that the state comes for another 150 miles past that.”

Deel’s idea is wise. Regions vary within many states. New York City and the surrounding suburbs are vastly different from the rural towns of upstate New York. Yet most governors fail to incorporate these variations into their pandemic policies, instead opting for a one size fits all approach.

Northam’s overly restrictive executive orders won’t stop COVID, but they will continue to kill Virginia businesses.

Is that the point?

Elizabeth is the founder and editor of The American Crisis. She is also a contract writer at The Western Journal and a previous contributor to RedState, The Dan Bongino Show, and The Federalist. Her articles have appeared on HotAir, Instapundit, RealClearPolitics, MSN and other sites. Elizabeth is a wife, a mom to three grown children and several beloved golden retrievers, and a grandmother!

4 replies »

  1. Great story…apparently, too many Virginians tolerate or even want authoritarian government. To your point, once size does not fit all.; they’re probably clustered around DC. Smart Virginians should move to Tennessee or maybe cede and form South Virginia or East Tennessee. :)

  2. There’s another story in Bristol, too. While the article clearly points out the absurdities of our overlords and their edicts, there’s more. There’s the story of the residents here supporting each other throughout these arbitrary lockdowns and curfews. There are restaurants and other merchants selling each others foods and goods, staff working to help each other, businesses and citizens helping out with the bills of their friends and neighbors, sometimes just across the street. There’s the story of a community truly taking care of one another, in spite of the bureaucratic imbeciles determined to rule us – while screaming “Equity” with every other breath. The people of Bristol, and many other towns and cities, are screaming too, but with frustration, and then they’re getting back to making a difference in any way they can – politics be damned.
    That story needs to be told, too.

      • No, I don’t. I spent a good bit of time in the area, and still in touch with a few people. There was some news coverage of the community last spring, but I suppose it didn’t promote the right agenda. Most of these folks avoid the ‘horn tooting’ anyway – they just take care of each other.

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