BATAVIA — With bars and restaurants now able to stay open normal hours for indoor and outdoor service, the Copperhead Creek Bar decided to have a “Coming out of COVID” celebration Saturday evening.

“Hopefully COVID’s run out of people to infect and this is behind us,” Pat Mandia, who, with his wife, Carrie, owns the bar and restaurant at 345 W. Main St., said as customers gathered inside, the country music band Highway 31 was setting up upstairs and a DJ was to play music outside. Pat Mandia said there are mobile hand sanitizing stations upstairs and downstairs in the restaurant and bar.

The Mandias and their staff gathered inside for a ribbon-cutting as part of the celebration. The Copperhead Creek’s hours are 12 p.m. to 12 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 12 p.m. to 2 a.m. Friday and Saturday.

“This was the first week bars and restaurants are able to stay open normal hours,” Pat Mandia said.

The Copperhead Creek began operating at normal hours last Tuesday, Mandia said. It originally opened in December 2019, but was forced to close, as the rest of the bars and restaurants around the state were, on March 16, 2020, due to COVID.

“We were only open for three months before COVID shut us down,” he said. “We never had the opportunity to do a ribbon-cutting before COVID-19.”

Copperhead Creek and other bars and restaurants were allowed to open, with restrictions, and in the fall, Gov. Andrew Cuomo enacted a curfew, he recalled. In November, the governor said these establishments had to close from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. At that time, restaurants were allowed to provide curbside, food-only pickup or delivery after 10 p.m., but were not permitted to serve alcohol to go. The curfew time was later changed to 11 p.m. and then to midnight.

“In the bar business, you make most of your money Thursday, Friday, Saturday after 9 p.m. That (the curfew) was a killer,” Pat Mandia said.

“The government did a great job scaring the hell out of everybody,” he said.

Copperhead Creek is located in the former Billy Goats bar.

“When we took the building over, it was a bit aged,” Pat Mandia said. “We thought, to be successful, we needed to do a complete overhaul of the inside. That’s what we did. We remodeled it from top to bottom. All the walls are knew. They’re pretty good-looking. It’s a rustic theme.

“We have new floors, new walls, new bathrooms, a lot of new fixtures. The best way to appreciate it is if you’ve been in the old establishment, maybe years ago, and you can compare and contrast, you would really find this a pretty neat place,” he said.

Pat Mandia said Copperhead has a music lineup starting this fall.

“We don’t want to compete with other outdoor events this summer,” he said. “We’ll probably have a few events this summer, but our main focus is we’re planning for the fall starting in September and October. We’re going to have a lot of live country and rock music throughout the winter.”

Carrie Mandia said, “We feel very fortunate and very lucky to have survived COVID, to be honest with you. Many small businesses couldn’t make it. We just want to grow from here and become the No. 1 community hangout place.”

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