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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The city of Tuscaloosa is giving struggling bar owners some financial assistance to help them recover.  Tuesday night the City Council passed a resolution to give $400,000 to 29 bar owners.

Brandon Hanks owns the Booth bar in downtown Tuscaloosa.  He says he and many other bar owners have struggled and getting the funds will make a big difference.

“Yeah, we really appreciate it and obviously we all just want to be open but right now it helps,” Hanks said. “Especially as long as you’ve been down for COVID 19.  Then you come back and try to set back up and all of a sudden, you’re brought back down again. I do appreciate the efforts of the Council and Mayor Maddox. Hopefully, now we can move forward and we just want to stay open.”

A few weeks ago, in August Maddox ordered all bars in the city to shut down for two weeks hoping to curb the spread of COVID-19.  Two weeks later the bars were allowed to re-open but can only operate at 50% capacity and up to 150 customers.  Hanks says the city’s help is a welcoming gesture.

“All we are asking for is a fair shake and I think that’s what he is trying to do and the city council and my council member Mr Busby,” Hanks said. “We just hope through all of this that the restrictions will lessen the closer we get to football season.”

Maddox tells CBS 42 making the tough decision to close bars was difficult.  But he says helping them recover was the right move because the 29 bars all sacrificed.

“Well it was our bar owners a couple of weeks ago that had to make a lot of sacrifices so we could do two things: number one protect our health care system and number two keep the university in session,” Maddox said. “They had to take it on the chin so this is our way of helping them get through a difficult time.”

According to the Mayor some bars have already received checks, and others will get their money later this week.