Retailer group tried path of appeasement with Mayor Berkowitz, but are shut down anyway - Must Read Alaska
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Thursday, September 23, 2021
HomePoliticsRetailer group tried path of appeasement with Mayor Berkowitz, but are shut down anyway

Retailer group tried path of appeasement with Mayor Berkowitz, but are shut down anyway

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“Life is a cabaret, old chum. Come to the cabaret!” – from the 1966 musical Cabaret

The CEO of the Cabaret, Hotel, Restaurant, and Retailers Association has written a letter to the group’s entire membership statewide, expressing her deep disappointment in the actions of Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz.

Sarah Daulton Oates, who just weeks ago stood side by side with the mayor as he announced massive reductions in capacity at restaurants and bars, and other emergency pandemic measures that crushed retailers, is standing by him no longer.

” You have undoubtedly heard by now about this afternoon’s announcement by Mayor Berkowitz that Emergency Order 15 (EO-15) will go into effect on Monday, August 3. EO-15 mandates a ‘four-week reset’ through limitations for individuals, gathering sizes, bars and nightclubs, restaurants and breweries, and bingo halls and theaters. 

“More specifically, bars and nightclubs will be required to close except for takeout and delivery service, and restaurants and breweries will be required to close all indoor dining and drinking,” she wrote.

Oates said her letter was going statewide because she believes it is likely that other municipalities will follow Berkowitz’ lead.

“I can’t even begin to describe my current level of disappointment, heartache, and anger. To tell you the truth, I bawled for over ten minutes after receiving the news, as I know how devastating another closure will be to many of you. The last five months have been unbelievably trying for all of us, and my emotions finally came to a head,” she wrote.

Oates had tried to work with the mayor, and stood by him with the reduction of services, the closures and the mask mandates. But now, returning to a shutdown is too much.

“Our weeks of collaboration and negotiations that resulted in EO-14 (dialing back hospitality establishments to essentially Phase 2) were very encouraging. But the Municipality hasn’t given that order time to know whether it’s made a difference. Yet again, our lone industry has been singled out.”

“It’s important for me to also note that during his press conference, Mayor Berkowitz misled viewers when he stated that he has been keeping Alaska CHARR apprised on this pending shutdown. After weeks of talking with members of his administration on a daily basis, I suddenly received zero communications from them after EO-14 went into effect. Instead, I received forewarning only two hours before the press conference this morning,” Oates wrote.

“I’m very disappointed that the communication from the Municipality with the industry was discontinued once closures were again being considered. Outdoor dining is just not an option for many businesses. It is my opinion that relying on pending legislation at the federal level to save businesses, particularly when House Democrats and Senate Republicans are miles apart on many of the issues, is ludicrous.

“Regardless of our tireless efforts at the local, state, and federal levels, and regardless of what happens with the HEROES and HEALS legislation, I believe that we will see a significant number of permanent closures over the next year of our local bars and restaurants that we own, know, and love. 

“My heart is breaking for our industry and the Anchorage community right now,” – Oates wrote.

“Please know that our team will continue to fight for all of you. Governor Dunleavy assured me during my call with him this Monday that he would continue to defer to local governments for at least the next three weeks, rather than considering statewide mandates or closures. With that, our efforts are focused on a federal aid package, continuing to work with AMCO and the ABC Board, and assisting our affiliates around the state when they request help on local issues,” Oates wrote.

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Written by

Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.

Latest comments

  • Government control especially by one man has reached the point of insanity beyond belief. This will destroy many businesses and the total economic future of Anchorage for years to come. My family is almost fully employed by the restaurant business and I have no idea what we’re going to do. We don’t want government handouts, we want our jobs. If people do not see what is really happening then there’s no hope for humanity.

    • Stay open, run your business and if the mayor sends over his minions, file a suit for damages. They have no legal standing, they are operating outside the constraints of the constitution.

  • If every bar and restaurant simply refuses to shutdown, what would happen? Is the mayor going to arrest the thousands of owners and employees and patrons? Time to stand up and fight this nonsense. My pub was shut down the day before St. Patrick’s Day and haven’t been able to re-open. Those that have fought to stay alive need to fight some more. Ms. Oates needs to organize a big protest, file an injunction against this order, and rally the industry. C’mon man!

    • Count on Mayor Dan to be looking after his own interests.
      Like the old oil change ad said, “You can pay me now, or you can pay me later.”

      We didn’t think it was important to change the oil because the car still ran. We didn’t think it was important to shut down until we had the virus under control, because businesses were suffering. Turns out it’s later. How much later, we don’t know. Turns out the coronavirus is looking to get paid. How much, we don’t know.

      • Greg R. Corona! Ooh scary! How many deaths sir? How many hospital beds are occupied, sir. Yeah, slim to none. The public has had it with the power grabbing tyrants . The public wants their freedom sir. You can stay in mommies basement and cower, maybe play with Berky action dolls. Let the rest of us make our own decisions about our health.

      • If you are so fear laden, feel free to hide under the bed. Those of us that value our liberty and see this virus for what it is, rather than the boogie man you scared people see, would rather go on with our lives instead of living in this new insanity. I am with Dan, stay open, screw the mayor, and get on with living.

        • Your plan has been tried. It is early days with the virus. Have at it. Get on with your “living,” but don’t be surprised, as have others, when the coronavirus pays you a visit.
          We have a model for what happens with highly contagious respiratory diseases. It is call the 1918 Flu epidemic. It is a cautionary tale. You don’t have to believe it. The virus doesn’t care. Maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe you won’t.
          So, are you feelin’ lucky,…

          • You obviously paid no attention to the obvious corruption in the article.

      • Wrong Mayor. Greg. If Mayor Sullivan was still Mayor this would not be happening.

    • Dan,
      Coming from rural Appalachia where a large amount of pubs stayed open during prohibition, I would say you are on to it. Yuengling brewery (one of America’s first) stayed open and brewed their beer during the wee hours of the night. At one time in Pottsville, PA there were as many as two dozen copper lines coming out of Yuengling brewery that were buried under ground & ran to “speak-easy” pubs around the town.
      I hate to say it, but our country is starting to look a lot similar to how it was 100 years ago….civil unrest & skyrocketing unemployment with an authoritarian over reaching government.
      Sadly, the only thing that brought the U.S. out of the last depression was a world war.

      • Time to rid ourselves of the authoritarian, over reaching Trump administration and put someone in charge who can actually accomplish something.
        Please, let’s try not to start another war.

        • Let’s stay open!!!! Screw that pint sized mental midget!!!!! We can win if we do this….. we need charr to back this… this is totally bs on that worthless mayors part

        • You mean like FDR and the Asian Americans he put into prison camps during WWII. Like barry and the illegals he put into cages. Over reaching like “if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor”..? You folks have been butt hurt since 1865 when you had to release your slaves. Then your party got violent and started wearing bed sheets and burning crosses and churches.

          Look in the mirror and judge yourself before you start spewing lies and deceit.

    • You guys need to look into the mayor also funneling money to his wife’s non-profit which has totaled several millions in the last year or so, all under the guy’s emergency.

  • What in the world ever made you believe that his Dishonor the Mayor would have done anything else?
    We have to give him credit for consistency.

  • We need to take our country, state, and local communities back from these liberal terrorists. We will lose our Constitutional and God-given rights and freedoms if we as a nation don’t wake up to what the radical socialist Democrat party has become. Berkowitz is an enemy to individual liberty and freedoms which has made our country exceptional for almost 250 years.

  • Now is the time to protest by refusing to shut down. The majority of our community will support this refusal.

    • Yes we would!!! As it stands a lot of us are doing our shopping and entertainment in the Valley or Kenai Peninsula where our intellect and independence are still somewhat respected… Anywhere But Anchorage.
      As a single individual, there is not much I can do except to refuse to cooperate with the muzzles and avoid the establishments where we’re harassed for breathing. But if the business owners got together, they have the clout to make things happen. And many of us individuals would have your back!
      As far as appeasement not working… it never has and never will. People need to recognize that progressives will never “live and let live.” They will not stop until everyone supports their every demand.

      • Agreed!!!

    • I will support the refusal to shut down.

  • What adds insult to injury, is that the money that should be going to the people who are hurt because of the closures (lost business/jobs), he is wanting to spend on housing for ungrateful people who don’t even want it unless they can continue their lawless ways. Good job, Anchorage residents. Do y’all think it’s about time to apply some Preparation-H to that hemorrhoid of a mayor you have?

  • I hear of protests being considered with marches, letters and refusals to close. Mayor Dan may have a point, why isn’t anyone filing an injunction in court against this?

    This is our friends & neighbors who will lose their livelihoods. Look at it this way, if one small diner that employes 10 people, an owner, a manager, 2 line cooks, 4 servers and 2 dishwashers closes that can be 10 families impacted. Add in the suppliers, fresh food, meats, beverages and dry goods no longer being ordered. Multiple that by 10 diners. Disaster in the foodservice industry. And we have other restaurants that haven’t re-opened from the first shut down: Campobellos, Las Margaritas, Cattle Company, Jackie’s Place just to name a few.

    He is literally killing the industry in Anchorage.

  • And while he runs businesses into bankruptcy and working people onto unemployment, he schemes to divert millions to support the lifestyles of homeless addicts who degrade everyone’s quality of life. It’s insane.

  • The business sector, that natural driver of a community economy, despite the platitudes about consumers, stuck its head in the sand instead of drawing a non-Obamaesque line in the sand when it came to the first closure. Now it’s paying the price.

    It seems like the leaders of the business sector forgot that: 1. Ethan can survive regardless of his salary or his businesses. 2. Ethan wants to move up the political ladder which takes money and support. 3. Outside money and support seems to trump local support; thus Ethan doesn’t have to care about local support. 4. It appears or soon will appear that his base is outside of this state and businesses and consumers are pawns to his Democrat vision.

    The business sector let him in and now it must get him out. A recall sounds good to me even if he soon terms out. So while business leaders are considering their fate, I’ll trundle up to Mat-Su and toast their threats and probable inaction.

  • Ba, Ba, Ba, Ba go the Sheeple. Ba, Ba, Baaaaaaaaaaaa

  • I guess the plan is to lock down our way to prosperity.

  • Watch out for Mayor “I don’t give a sh*t about you people,” he’s thinking big picture for his future. I said weeks earlier on Dan Fagan’s radio show that he’s trying to get national attention in a state that is low in CCP virus infections and even lower deaths. No one in the lower 48 even cares about us in Alaska. So why not cripple the State’s only large metropolitan city, and get some kind of response that will go viral. He’s hoping to get air time like Newsom of CA or even Wheeler from Portland, OR. Once when I new him as an assistant District Attorney for the municipality, he genuinely cared for those that needed his help. Today that is long gone. Only political aspirations for this chump. So sad for the business owners of Anchorage. I will support any type of movement to fight back against this ridiculous, insane attempt to stifle our freedoms.

  • OK, let’s get real here. The worst places to be if you don’t want to catch the virus are where there are closed spaces, crowds, and close contact. That is the reality of the coronavirus. It is airborne. You can wash your hands all you want and put on any kind of mask, and if you are in spaces that include the above three, you will be exposed to the virus somewhere along the line.
    Restaurants and bars aren’t being single out for no reason. Bars, especially, are places where people come together under the three “c” conditions, and therefore, are prime places to spread the virus. Had we closed down to the point where we had the virus under control, we might have been able to open bars (NZ and others have done so), but we didn’t. Now it’s back to share its joy with all of us because we got impatient and didn’t believe we really had a problem. Well, folks, we have a problem. We can let this thing run willy-nilly or we can try to save as many lives as we can. Sure, bars will close, and restaurants will close, and I will miss both of those, but how many lives are we willing to lose.
    This is a learning moment. Will we learn, or won’t we? And how long will it take?

    • We will lose more lives to the government shutdown then to the China virus. How many lives are we willing to destroy over a virus with a 99.6% recovery rate?

  • While I feel for the employees and business owners, my solution is to simply head to the Mat-Su valley. Lots of good restaurants and watering holes my friends and I can visit there.

  • Now you all see how big of a mistake it was to shut down the legislature and allow local municipalities to start setting their own mandates. (Which are not laws and cannot be enforced like state laws)
    There should have been push back from day one to end the unconstitutional mandates and allow government to function at a state level instead of declaring an “emergency” until November.
    What are the state reps and senators doing to help the business owners that donate to their campaigns? Nothing…all we hear is crickets from 95 percent of the per diem club!
    This is a travesty of elected government to allow corporations to stay open and make millions while small business jumps through hoop after hoop only to be denied survival in the end.

  • The mayor has only the power you convey to him and if all the bars and restaurants defied defied his Stalinist decree, there is no legal way he could close them down. If he sends the cops in to close them down, the restaurants can sue for damages because the edict defies the constitution and logic. Screw him and go about your business.

    • Agreed!

  • The best cure for this virus issue would be for a good healthy economy to exist again. we need far more gravel trains not less..!!

    • Charlie Did I miss something ” we need far more gravel trains not less..!!” Please explain….What do gravel trains have to do with Commie Berky’s doings ?

  • As a senior, I will thoughtfully manage my exposure as is my, and everyone’s, right . Also, I will support any and all private businesses to operate per their constitutional rights. These are personal decisions which we have the right to make. Plus it’s a good excuse to have my martini!
    The decisions to resist can, and must be made. I will not attribute or decry the mayor’s decision as being for any personal gain. When considering the overall effect to the majority of our society, it is just plain wrong. This is not just the restaurant and bar industry. This is the type of majority decision, a free society must always be making

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