Gainesville nightclubs adapt to make revenue during COVID-19 restrictions

Bars are back open in Florida but if you want to dance the night away at the club, you are going to have to wait.
Published: Sep. 23, 2020 at 6:36 PM EDT
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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) - Bars are back open throughout the State of Florida but if you are thinking about dancing the night away at the club, you are going to have to wait.

Knockin' Boots is a country line dancing nightclub in downtown Gainesville that has been closed since March.

“Oh it’s crushing, we don’t have the ability to make any money and we’re still having to pay our bills. We don’t see any end in sight so we’re definitely panicking,” Knockin' Boots Co-Owner J.D. Chester said.

Knockin' Boots is just one of several nightclubs that have been shuttered since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place. Business owners have now converted the place into a small liquor store named Boot Liquors.

“To try to get some revenue but really there’s been zero revenue since March 17th,” Chester said.

Right down the street from Knockin' Boots on University Avenue is The University Club that has transitioned into a bar type setting with tables. Drag shows are scheduled throughout the week but the dance floor is closed for patrons.

Chester said he does not see Knockin' Boots turning into a seated-only bar.

“Nobody wants to country line dance while they’re sitting down,” he said.

Boot Liquors will be open during some game days, at least until restrictions for nightclubs lift.

“I can’t think of another way the community can help other than keep your distance and let’s try to get rid of COVID so that I can get back to regular business,” he said.

Chester also said he sees it taking several months until there is a change in restrictions but he is trying to stay positive and hopeful for country music lovers to be able to dust off their boots and dance together again safely.

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