California bar forced to close due to the pandemic, moves to Iowa to open two establishments in time for NYE

Published: Dec. 31, 2020 at 10:23 PM CST
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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (KCRG) - A California bar owner took quite a route to open up two new operations in Cedar Falls in time for New Year’s.

Bars in California continue to be closed out of concern of COVID-19. Bars in that state have been shuttered in March when the pandemic started. That was why one bar owner rushed to Iowa, where bars could continue to stay open.

“I know it’s going to thrive,” said Brian Cohen, owner of MOB Bar and Moonshine Cowgirls in downtown Cedar Falls.

Cohen moved to Iowa temporarily to start these two bars. He owns 19 others in California, which were closed since California decided to close all non-essential businesses.

“A lot of bars across the country have been able to open at a smaller capacity,” he said. “Los Angeles, and most of the state of California, have been closed since March 15th with no end in sight.”

Cohen said he was overwhelmed with the number of people who reached out and reserved tables for their NYE party. While he said he hadn’t reached the bars half capacity limit yet, it was close. However, that came at a time when health leaders were worried that larger gathering would lead to more cases and overwhelm the health care system.

“We have to be very careful,” said Doctor Jorge Salinas. “We should try to avoid large indoor crowds with more than 10-people that don’t live with you.”

Cohen said they were doing the best to follow state and CDC guidelines.

“We have masks, we have hand sanitizer, we’re going to enforce social distancing,” he said. “We will practice what the state and city want us to practice.”

Cohen said once these two bars were established, he would move to Texas, where he planned to open more bars.

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