The Bloomingtonian

Kilroy’s attorney issues statement on cancellation of reopening

May 16, 2020 – Bloomington, Indiana USA: Kilroy’s on Kirkwood is closed in downtown Bloomington on the first Saturday night after the stay-at-home order lifted in Monroe County. (Jeremy Hogan/File Photo)

Bloomington attorney Amelia K. Lahn of Lahn Law, LLC sent the following statement to the Bloomingtonian and said the management of the local bar wished to give their side of things after a local newspaper wrote an article stating their plans to reopen, then abrupt cancellation of the reopening was a “mystery.” The bar, with several locations in town, and popular with Indiana University students remains closed as the IU football team has one of the most successful seasons in recent memory.

Here is the text of the statement sent vie e-mail:

“STATEMENT BY KEVIN FITZPATRICK AND KILROY’S MANAGEMENT

Kilroy’s is happy to respond to the question posed by the H-T’s article of November 6, “Continued closure of Bloomington Kilroy’s remains a mystery.”There is actually no mystery as to why Kilroy’s has thus far chosen not to re-open: from the beginning of the current public health crisis, our first concern has been the health of our patrons, our staff, the campus community, and the Bloomington community at large. As a business that serves tens of thousands of customers each year, we know that we have a moral responsibility to operate safely and that our continued existence as a business has everything to do with the long-term vitality of this community. In light of this responsibility, Kilroy’sshut down in early March, at the very start of the public health emergency, and began both closely monitoring the day-by-day changes in the public health situation and appraising how we could ultimately re-open safely. We also used this time to help our community as conditions allowed: for example, beginning April 2, we held “T-shirt Thursdays” on which we sold Kilroy’s merchandise over the web with 100% of proceeds going to local not-for-profits such as the Monroe County YMCA; Boys’ and Girls’ Club; and the Community Kitchen. Long after our peer establishments (such as Nick’s English Hut, Brothers, and the Upstairs) resumed operations, Kilroy’s chose to delay our reopening until we were sure that the public health situation permitted it and that we had rigorous systems in place to allow us to do so in a way that minimized the exposure of our patrons and staff to any risk. As your article noted, we initially had hoped to reopen in time for IU football’s home opener on October 24 and announced plans to do. We did not make this decision lightly. In order to prepare for our intended opening date, we:•Observed and communicated with other bar managers & owners within our community & around the state in order to identify operating practices that have worked for and failed for them.•Put a plan in place that significantly reduced our occupancy, decreased the number of tables in the venue at greatly increased distances, as well as ensuring hand sanitizer and masks were available. In addition to the minimum standards required by law relating to COVID safety, we also chose to close at 10:00 pm rather than staying open until 3:00 am.•Had our operations plan approved by the Monroe County Health Department, including a walk-through with the Monroe County health inspector and were approved a second time. •Instituted an online software tool called Lineleap that provides us the ability to operate our venue as a reservation-only space. This means that no one enters the venue unless they have a table reservation and can only stay at their tables; no standing at the bar; no long lines of people waiting to come in. As the date approached, though, and after conferring with the City, we decided that erring on the side of caution and waiting a bit longer was the best decision to maintain our target of a full reopening (under Monroe County Health Department Guidelines) after the new year. That meant not only foregoing thousands of dollars in revenue, but also refunding the first revenue we had received in over 8 months via reservations already booked for Oct. 24—but, once again, we felt that it was the right thing to do, notwithstanding the fact that other bars and restaurants in Bloomingtontook a different approach. I should note one correction: in your November 6 story, you quote IUAssistantVice-PresidentKirk White as stating that neither IU nor the IU Foundation has directly communicated with Kilroy’s management about COVID safety and reopening. In fact, Kilroy’s has met with and spoken to both IU Foundation and other public officials during the pandemic on just those topics. We now anticipate that our targeted 2021re-opening will allow us to re-open under the safest possible conditions. We will, as always, continue to evaluate conditions on a daily basis, and only make a final decision when information and guidance from the city, county, university, and state officials support reopening. We are looking forward to resuming our role as the iconic Bloomington destination that both brings thousands of visitors (and thousands in revenue and taxes) to Bloomington each year, and is an integral part of the Hoosier college experience for so many students and alumni.”

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