Halloween is usually a busy weekend for downtown businesses, but this year, bars in San Luis Obispo are not sure what to expect.
On Friday night, many people were dressed up in costumes on the eve of the holiday, which one out-of-towner says can be celebrated safely.
"You can still enjoy yourself you just have to be wise about it. Wear a mask, it’s very easy, you can still dress up and if you’re going to be with a group, get tested beforehand," San Diego resident Aimee Loranger said.
Bars in downtown SLO are bracing for holiday festivities, as crowds are more of a concern this year due to COVID-19.
“In years prior, it’s definitely been a thing, Halloween’s a big party downtown," The Carissa General Manager Nick Johnson said.
This year, bars have been asked to close down early, but it is only a recommendation.
“They’ve asked us to shutdown at ten to maintain for everyone’s safety, our safety, the customer’s safety," Buffalo Bartender James Menno said. "I know the police did come around last night and kind of warn everybody.”
Some feel not all bars will comply with the early closure. One local worries about larger crowds celebrating on Halloween night.
“I think the thing about the bars that scares me is that people are taking their masks off for drinks and stuff," Cal Poly student Marissa Hall said.
Several bars say they plan to keep social distancing measures in check at tables and indoors throughout the weekend.
“We’re expecting a crowd for sure we’re still going to keep everything the way that we’ve been doing it," Johnson said. "We’re going to keep tables all six feet apart make sure that everyone is doing their part to stay safe.”
Bar owners say they began to see lines along Higuera Street beginning Thursday, with people dressed up in costumes.
The San Luis Obispo County Public Health Department wants to remind people that even if they are dressing up in a costume this year, they should still be wearing a face covering. This is especially recommended for those partaking in higher risk activities such as trick-or-treating.
Bars, breweries, and brew pubs that do not serve are not open as San Luis Obispo County remains in the red tier.