Happy Dog set to reopen for 1st time in over a year

Happy Dog
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Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 6:20 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Polka Happy Hour is returning!

Happy Dog Owner Sean Watterson told 19 News their opening weekend will be June 25-26.

The lively restaurant famous for its quarter-pound hot dogs with creative toppings, over 75 beers on tap, and live music has been closed completely for more than a year.

With the pandemic’s capacity restrictions limiting them to 25%, they could only allow 10 diners at most in addition to the staff and bands.

Since 80% of their open days event-driven with bands, trivia, and their talk series, the owner said it wasn’t worth it.

”We were holding out to come back to the way we were,” Watterson said.

Now, they’re ready.

Hot dogs and tots will be served as the kitchen reopens and they’re hoping to be fully staffed again.

They lobbied for the “save our stages bill” as part of the National Independent Venues Association and when it passed, it created a program called the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant.

“‘Safe In Sound’ compiles expansive yet easily digestible information and recommendations provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other public health experts and delivers it in a form tailored specifically for our industry,” said Sean Lynch, co-chair of NIVA’s Reopening Task Force. “As we return to these vital social environments, we need to make sure it’s done safely and comfortably for artists, staff, and patrons alike. We can’t wait to return to work and provide the live entertainment experience so many have missed.”

They are counting on using those funds that the SBA committed to getting out by the end of the month.

Happy Dog will be one of the first tiers of recipients.

They will use the money to re-stock inventory and perform maintenance on equipment that has been idle for a year.

“While it is always essential to meet state and local legal requirements, that is just the beginning,” said Steve Adelman, Vice President of the Event Safety Alliance. “Every industry professional knows it takes an enormous amount of work to make events look simple. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented countless challenges to safely bringing audiences back to venues, safely getting production staff back to work behind the scenes, and safely returning artists to stages. We have created industry-specific guidance to put life safety first.”

The hours of operation are still to be determined based on the number of employees at the time of reopening.

The bands are already lined up for the opening weekend.

Herzog will perform on Friday and Oregon Space Trail of Doom will take the stage on Saturday.

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