Bars and restaurants in New York City are slowly re-opening with limited service. That includes Greenwich Village’s Stonewall Inn, but the world’s most famous LGBTQ bar is in danger of permanently shuttering after losing revenue due to extended closure during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The iconic birthplace of the modern LGBTQ rights movement has been closed since March, when the Big Apple went into lockdown under New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s orders. This week, Stonewall staffers launched two GoFundMes—one for the bar’s operating costs and one for the staff—so the bar can re-open now that NYC is no longer shut down.
The description for the fundraiser reads:
We are reaching out because like many families and small businesses around the world, The Stonewall Inn is struggling. Our doors have been closed for over three months to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of patrons, staff and the community. Even in the best of times it can be difficult to survive as a small business and we now face an uncertain future… We resurrected the Stonewall Inn once after it had been shuttered—and we stand ready to do it again—with your help. We worked diligently to resurrect it as a safe space for the community and to keep the Stonewall Inn at the epicenter of the fight for the LGBTQ+ rights movement. It has been a community tavern, but also a vehicle to continue the fight that started there in 1969. Stonewall is the place the community gathers for celebrations, comes to grieve in times of tragedy, and rally to continue the fight for full global equality.
As the time of writing, the campaign has raised more than $52,000 of its original $50,000 goal.
The bartenders, bar-backs, and staff of the legendary watering hole also needs help with living costs while the bar stays closed, according to the staff fundraiser.
“From the managers and bartenders to the bar backs and porters, our staff is the backbone of this institution of living history. Right now they need your help,” the description reads. “Without their shifts, these dedicated staff members are without the means to support themselves and their families.”
The Stonewall employees fund has already raised more than $25,000 of its $60,000 goal.
The beloved West Village watering hole isn’t the only queer-owned venue facing financial hardships due to COVID-19. Alibi Lounge, the last Black-owned gay bar in Manhattan, also launched a fundraiser to keep its doors open and staff on payroll amid the pandemic.
Stonewall was granted official landmark status in 2015, making it the first landmark in the city’s history to be recognized for its connection to LGBT history.
“We look forward to the day we can welcome all of you back, raise a glass and celebrate the return to our normal lives,” reads the page for the Stonewall staff’s GoFundMe. “Until then, stay safe, take care of your loved ones and be strong.”