Houston Gay Bars Buddies, The Blur Close Temporarily Due to COVID-19

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Tuesday June 16, 2020

BUDDY'S owner Christopher Barry
BUDDY'S owner Christopher Barry  (Source:Screen cap / Facebook / BUDDY'S)

Two gay bars in Houston, Texas have temporarily shuttered due to staff members testing positive for the CIVID-19 virus. The owner of one of the bars also tested positive, though he says he is without symptoms.

BUDDY'S made the decision to close for at least two weeks after owner Christopher Barry tested positive for the coronavirus. Local ABC affiliate Channel 13 reported that several other staff members also tested positive for the virus, which can cause some people to die or to become seriously ill and require respirators to help them breathe. Individuals with underlying health issues such as diabetes, asthma, obesity, kidney or heart disease, or who are undergoing treatment for cancer are among those thought to be at higher risk.

BUDDY'S posted word of the closure at Facebook on June 14, informing patrons that the bar would was undergoing a "COVID (Temporary) Closure to deep clean. All employees will need COVID negative test result to return to work."

The BUDDY'S Facebook post included a video message from Barry, who recounted that BUDDY'S had only recently reopened, though with a reduced staff, since out of 27 employees "only nine of them were able to return to work, and we just learned that five of them tested positive for COVID-19."

Added Barry: "I'm one of those people. I don't have an elevated temperature. I am asymptomatic. I have a cough every once in a while."

Barry's observation that he was without symptoms is a reminder that the illness affects different people with different degrees of severity and underscores the need for the use of precautions such as face masks and social distancing, since asymptomatic people can easily infect others.

The BUDDY'S Facebook post also included information about testing.

Another Houston gay bar, Blur, also temporarily closed down due to COVID-19. A June 15 Facebook post informed Blur patrons:

We value the safety of all of our customers and accordingly we have decided to close the club for UP TO two weeks due to some members of our staff having tested positive for the Coronavirus. We will be deep cleaning during this period to make the club safe for your return. Please see our Facebook page for updates as to re-opening.

Blur owner Charles Armstrong told Preview:

"Morally, I'm not going to open a dance club in the middle of a global pandemic.

Added Armstrong:

"Some of the bars around us are not complying with the governor's mandate. That presents a stress point on us who are trying to play by the rules. How do you have social distancing on a packed dance floor? It's just wild abandon, no one's enforcing the rules."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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