BROOKLYN, N.Y. — All Eddie Dean can do is reminisce about the good times at his bar and concert venue Schimanski in Williamsburg.
Schimanski has been shut down since last March. Everything now is covered in garbage bags.
Concert venues are allowed to reopen April 2 at 33% capacity, but Dean says 33% of a crowd just doesn’t make sense financially. His venue holds more than 700 people.
"That doesn't make sense like this," he said. "We are built for 100% capacity, and without 100% capacity, there is no opportunity to make it economically work."
As of now, he has no idea when he can afford to reopen.
"We book artists here, and their fees are based on sellouts. So if you are at 100% capacity and you don't sell out, there is a good chance you are going to lose money under normal circumstances," Dean said.
His landlord is giving him a break on rent for the time being. Dean also got the PPP loan, but says it didn't help him since his employees were not working. That includes 30 full time, and more than a dozen contractors, including bartenders and audio professionals.
"I feel awful and it's terrible, but again, it is not our fault we were told to shut down," Dean said.
Dean said one of the most difficult parts of this year is having no timeline on when he can fill this place up again and bring back his employees.
Over the summer NY1 interviewed Dean, when he had zero guidance from the state. But not much has changed.
"In our business, our business is based on concentration of people and filling places. If you go to a nightclub and it’s half full, you leave, " Dean said back in early September.
He's hoping the Save Our Stages Act, a federal grant, will be a lifeline if he is able to receive some federal aid.
"We can apply for that in a week or so," he said. "Hopefully, that can get us where we need to be."
As he stares at the empty venue, he remains hopeful that New Yorkers will head out again.
"I just think there is going to be such a pent-up demand and that we will be packed again soon," Dean said.