120 days and counting: Phase 2 continues, private bars closed for nearly four months


WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — The four month mark of being closed is drawing near.

Private bars have been closed since March 17. 120 days and counting.

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“When you just keep getting punched and punched and punched, sooner or later you just don’t feel it anymore,” Jimmy Gilleece said.

Gilleece, owner of Jimmy’s, says he’s almost numb at this point.

He says the community and his location have been godsends.

“We’re barely staying afloat and we’re selling the heck out of merchandise and to-go beer and we’re fortunate enough to be on this strip,” Gilleece said. “But like I said I worry about my friends that own other bars that aren’t on a busy strip and they just don’t have the foot traffic like I do.”

A short walk down North Lumina Avenue in Wrightsville Beach will land you at Lagerheads Tavern, where owner Jim Carter is only making money on merchandise and by renting out his parking lot for beach parking.

He says in a beach town most of your money is made in the summer.

“If you don’t get it in the summer, it’s going to be a long winter,” Carter said. “But we’re going to be okay. We’re hanging tough. It’s just using up what money we had stored up.”

He says he’s dipping into any money that he’d saved for hurricanes or other emergencies.

“We’re using everything that we have. I mean, that’s just the way it is,” he said. “As are the other bar owners too, we aren’t unique.”

Gilleece and Carter both agree they’re happy for their neighboring bar owners and friends who get to open their doors.

“I’m glad somebody’s making the money, but then again I’m not gonna lie to you. It does hurt to see those places so busy and slammed and we can’t open,” Gilleece said.

“I really don’t see the difference if you’re eating a hamburger or if you’re drinking a cold beer. It just kind of hurts when you see others open and you’re not able to do it,” Carter said.