Bristol, Virginia Business Owners Tell Clay How COVID Restrictions Are Devastating Their Business

Business partners J.J. Gillenwater & Blair Jones, who own the Quaker Steak & Lube franchise location in Bristol, Virginia, have to remind customers on a nightly basis around 9:30 p.m. that they need to finish up and head on out because their restaurant and bar is closing. Then, as the two told Clay Travis Thursday morning on his OutKick radio show (interview starts at 33:00 mark), they have to watch customers walk out the front door, cross the street into Bristol, Tennessee.

“You can watch it every evening,” Gillenwater told Clay. Customers head on over to Tennessee, where COVID restrictions don't include bar and restaurant curfews. The party can go on across the street, while Gillenwater and Jones contemplate what they can do to battle Virginia Governor Ralph Northam.

“We are consistently losing money because of these restrictions,” Jones added. “Live entertainment has been curtailed which has impacted our late-night sales having to shut down at 10 p.m. It’s been a real killer for us.”

The story of Bristol, Virginia and Bristol, Tennessee dealing with different lockdown restrictions isn't new. The mainstream media has covered the unique aspects of the city with the state line running down the middle of the street going all the way back to May 2020 when CNN reported that Virginia restaurants weren't allowed to accept Tennessee customers.

Fox came to town in December to report on how business owners were hoping for a united front from state governments.

It's now February 18, and Gillenwater and Jones are still watching loyal customers continue their nights across the street in Tennessee. They're understandably frustrated.

“We’re being held to a standard from northern Virginia, the D.C. area. It’s ridiculous. It’s two totally different areas of the country," Gillenwater told Clay.

Written by
Joe Kinsey is the Senior Director of Content of OutKick and the editor of the Morning Screencaps column that examines a variety of stories taking place in real America. Kinsey is also the founder of OutKick’s Thursday Night Mowing League, America’s largest virtual mowing league. Kinsey graduated from University of Toledo.