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The Den, located near the Wyoming-Colorado border, is one of the first strip clubs in the country to reopen during the pandemic. Its licensure as a sit-down restaurant and bar allowed it to fall under the category of businesses allowed to reopen on Friday.
While establishments across the nation have been slow to reopening their doors, businesses in Wyoming are taking a more relaxed approach given the relatively small number of COVID-19 cases and deaths.
The Den’s owner, Kim Chavez, told USA Today she was not totally comfortable with reopening, but felt she had no choice. Per federal law, adult-oriented businesses and performers were barred from applying for stimulus programs, including the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
“We knew that once our doors closed, we were screwed until we could reopen,” Chavez said. “If I’d gotten the PPP I might not have opened today. This is a risk we’re taking.”
The dancers are permitted to work as long as they maintain social distancing, wear protective masks, and sanitize the pole before using it, Fox 31 reported.
The club didn’t require customers to wear masks but provided them for anyone who wanted one. Staff also sanitized the bar, tables, and chairs anytime a customer moved.
As of Monday, Wyoming has recorded just 754 cases of the novel coronavirus with only eight deaths, according to the latest numbers from Johns Hopkins University.