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The Abbey Closes Due to COVID-19; Will Other Gay Bars Follow?

The Abbey

Owner David Cooley said he would be "inconsolable" if the gay bar caused the virus to spread.

The Abbey is shuttering due to COVID-19.

David Cooley, the owner of the most prominent gay bar in the Los Angeles area, released a statement Friday saying the establishment will be "closed temporarily" with no confirmed end date.

"Never in almost three decades, did I think I would have to post a message like this. For the safety of our staff, guests and entire community, The Abbey will be closed temporarily," Cooley wrote in an open letter.

"The situation with COVID-19 is changing quickly. I don't know whether we will be closed for a few days, a few weeks or even longer. Until our public health officials can assure us that it is safe, we will remain closed," he added.

For nearly 30 years, the Abbey has been a queer hub in West Hollywood, the gayborhood of L.A. In addition to nightlife, the venue hosts a range of events, including a recent Super Tuesday fundraiser with former California Sen. Barbara Boxer.

The Abbey follows a host of other venues and performances spaces, including Broadway, in closing down in the wake of the global pandemic. The decision "breaks my heart," said Cooley, particularly as the community "will no longer have The Abbey as a safe space to support each other during this crisis."

"I am saddened that it has come to this. If staying open caused the pandemic to spread more quickly, I would be inconsolable," Cooley stated. "I know this crisis will pass. When it does, we will all celebrate together."

The Abbey -- along with its adjacent property the Chapel -- is the first prominent gay bar to announce closure in the wake of COVID-19 -- although several Pride celebrations, including L.A. Pride, have pushed dates back in response.

Read Cooley's letter below.

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