Gus Kenworthy
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Citing Maskless Scofflaws, WeHo Gay Bar The Abbey Closing Temporarily

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A surge in cases of the pandemic is causing Los Angeles County to enact a new set of lockdowns and quarantine guidelines that include limiting hours people are allowed to gather, as well as closing outdoor restaurant dining. These new guidelines have hit small businesses especially hard, and legendary gay bar The Abbey is unfortunately, not exempt.

Own David Cooley posted on Facebook that these new curfews and closures will result in The Abbey having to lay off it’s entire staff for the holiday season starting November 25. Right now, he says, the closure is for three weeks, but he expects to extend it through the end of the year.

“County health officials are implementing these new changes because of the people who won’t follow the guidelines. The people not following the guidelines are the reason I have to lay off my entire staff for the holidays,” Cooley said on Facebook.

The closure comes at a time when many queer people are looking for places where they can feel at home. “It’s particularly hard for LGBTQ+ spaces going into the holidays. We’re more than just a restaurant, we’re a safe space for people to celebrate the holidays,” Cooley continued. He added that, “The Abbey has helped people feel welcomed and loved during the holidays for almost 30 years. We’re doing everything we can to offer more take out and to go options, including Thanksgiving dinners.”

Cooley didn’t place blame on officials, or their loyal customers, but pointed to a smaller number of patrons who don’t seem to think quarantine guidelines apply to them.

“Most of our guests are happy to follow the guidelines and safety protocols,” Cooley wrote, “Every day we see overly entitled people who don’t think the virus will come for them and don’t think they have any part to play in stopping its spread. We have a zero-tolerance policy for people who won’t wear their masks when entering and exiting or won’t stay seated while they dine with us. We ask them to leave immediately. It is sad and upsetting, that some people just believe they are above the law.”

“My business, and many others like it, are forced to pay the price for their selfish, ignorant and shameful behavior,” he added.

Still, he’s hopeful that this will only be at temporary closure, and encourages everyone to wear masks, practice social distancing, avoid gathering in groups, and wash their hands so that the bar can reopen as soon as possible.

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