Southeastern Bar, other Auburn businesses choose to temporarily close doors – AL.com

Four days after hundreds of students packed into its walls for a Saturday night of drinks, music and dancing, Southeastern chose to shut down its business “out of an abundance of caution.”

According to a press release sent out Wednesday, the bar has been closely following the information coming from East Alabama Medical Center, the Auburn University Medical Clinic and the City of Auburn since it reopened its doors in May. It said it stands ready to change its practices based on guidelines from the CDC, the state and the National Restaurant Federation.

When Auburn students and community members partied at Southeastern during the first week of classes, Alabama was still under Governor Kay Ivey’s statewide mask mandate that required everyone over the age of six to wear a mask when in a public space or a gathering of 10 or more people. The mask mandate expires Aug. 31 unless it’s extended.

Fall, which includes the football season, is generally the bar’s favorite time of year, but this year brings new challenges, it said.

“While the debate on the virus’s impact on the student population continues, we have decided to take the proactive step of voluntarily shutting down our business out of an abundance of caution while we monitor the impact of Auburn University’s reopening on-campus activities,” the release said. The bar urged everyone to take COVID-19 seriously and follow the guidelines.

The owners of Southeastern also own 17-16 and closed that bar, as well. Jon Hyink, one of the owners, organized a GoFundMe page to help support the staff while the bar is closed. In the fundraiser’s description, it says that they hope to help with their staff’s living expenses and to distribute the funds as soon as possible. There is also one for 17-16.

Southeastern’s decision comes a day before Auburn City Council holds its meeting on potential additional public safety measures that could help limit the spread of COVID-19. It also comes two days after Auburn reported its positive cases had increased five fold.

Two restaurants, The Depot in Auburn and Zazu in Opelika, have also chosen to shut down temporarily. Zazu said it had an employee who was exposed to COVID-19, so it was shutting down while it waited for the test results. The Depot, which did not reopen until June, had an employee test positive, so it is shutting down and isolating all those who were exposed to that employee.

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