Bar owner fears closing if karaoke isn't allowed during pandemic

Karaoke in bars and restaurants isn't allowed during the COVID-19 pandemic, says Arizona's Department of Health Services (AZDHS).

However, a Valley business owner is speaking out on how the state’s ban is causing him to lose business.

414 Pub & Pizza's owner, Spencer Golish, had his business closed for a while during the pandemic and is now allowed to be open. Unfortunately for him, karaoke is what their best known for -- and it's not allowed.

"My ability to make money has been taken from me essentially through no fault of my own," he said on Sept. 22.

Karaoke is labeled by public health officials as "risky behavior" for spreading COVID-19.

Will Humble, former director of AZDHS, explains why.

"It is spread through droplets primarily. Now droplets are things that come out of your mouth, smaller particles," he explains, adding, "Thousands of particles come out per second, come out while you’re singing or talking."

The silenced singing has had dire consequences for Golish's business. He says getting through to health officials to create a plan to bring back karaoke has been nearly impossible.

"Every time I talk to them, they’re like, 'This is what we have to do.' There’s no appeal, there’s no nothing," Golish says, adding, "I could provide a box for people to sing in, I could have them wear masks."

Golish says he doesn't know how much longer his business could survive without karaoke.

State health officials say businesses can request informal settlement conferences to try and reach a resolution on issues they may be experiencing.