PHOENIX — Messages of hope are lighting up a high rise hotel in downtown Phoenix, thanks to a small business owner who says he felt powerless after the COVID-19 pandemic led to the closure of his bar.
The Bitter and Twisted cocktail parlor located at the corner of Jefferson and Central downtown is described as a place that puts a big focus on balanced cocktails made with premium liquors. Since mid-March the chairs have been hanging over the tables, and the glasses empty. A marquee inside the restaurant states the current guest of honor is COVID-19.
Owner Ross Simon says the boredom and feeling of helplessness after the bar closure led him to do something to try to honor healthcare workers, and have some fun while at it.
Every night after the sun sets you will see the walls of the Residence Inn by Marriott lighting up with messages of gratitude, responsibility, and some sarcasm as well.
From "Be nice, be kind, be Phx,' to "6 feet apart please,' and "don't drink bleach," Simon said
The goal for this light display is to thank medical workers working in the trenches of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Like so many other business owners, Simon said his business had been hit hard by the financial loss and uncertainty of the pandemic. He's had to furlough all of his staff until they can re-open.
"It's a little bit soul gutting, thinking about how our teams are doing and how we're going to come back from this," said Simon.
While eager to re-open Simon says he knows they will have to do it responsibly to protect their own employees along with their customers.
"If it spikes again and we have a resurgence of cases, even worse we could have to close again and I don't know how many businesses could close again and then have to reopen again. I'm not sure we could," said Simon.
The bar is working on plans to at least get their kitchen open again, until the state allows bars to re-open as well.