Madison brewery prepares to open for the first time in over 7 weeks


MADISON, Ala. – Alabama Governor Kay Ivey updated her “safer at home order” Friday. Starting Monday, restaurants, bars and breweries will be allowed to open.

The new order is good news for those who have been waiting to visit their favorite establishments, but it’s taking some local businesses by surprise.

“We weren’t expecting anything before May 15. We have some construction going on right now that we have to hurry up and finish now,” said Todd Seaton, owner of Old Black Bear Brewing Company.

Seaton said no restaurant wants to shut their doors for renovations, so the mandatory closure was the perfect opportunity to make improvements.

“We’ve got some floors that needed tending to. We’ve gotten those repaired and we have one in the process right now,” Seaton said.

But no worries, Seaton said they will definitely be open on Monday.

“Being able to open up to the public again in any form or fashion is great,” he said.

They’ll be ready to open and have plans in place to follow all social distancing guidelines including tables spaced six feet apart.

“The social distancing six-foot rule, for us, we are actually pretty close to that already. We’re having to take out maybe three or four tables from the whole restaurant,” Seaton said.

Seaton said they will use their beer garden as a social distance waiting area and opperate at 50 percent capacity.

“We will have someone at the front door with a clicker counting as they come in and out,” he said.

Seaton said they are looking forward to opening on Monday, even with restrictions and hope the community comes out to show their support.

“Obviously opening up is going to be a huge step for us to start getting revenue, but we have a lot of bills to pay that are just sitting there waiting to be collected,” Seaton said.

He thinks people might be hesitant to dine in at first, but said the crew at Old Black Bear will be ready to serve people safely.

Old Black Bear Brewing was fortunate to keep all of its employees during the shut down, but Seaton said they will be operating at 50 percent capacity which could raise an issue with keeping staff busy and full time depending on how long the restrictions last.

The safer at home order’s expiration date has been extended to May 22.

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