Today, the downtown Fort Worth sports bar Frankie's posted an oh-so familiar Facebook post: An announcement that the bar will be closing, effective immediately. But this social media announcement has an interesting twist: Owners say that the "proverbial straw" is the Affordable Care Act, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported.
"If we were to stay in business, there was no way for us to have borne the weight of the oppressive penalties for failing to comply with the mandates of that legislature," Frankie's announcement on social media reads. "Therefore, another establishment goes out of business. Over 50 people lose their jobs. Suppliers and vendors lose the revenue of our account. Loyal patrons have one less option for dining out."
The bar opened in March 2011, according to the open letter, and the company has another Frankie's location still open in downtown Dallas. Owner Bill Katz explained the reasons behind closing Frankie's in more detail to the Star-Telegram:
Katz said Monday that between his two locations (the other is in downtown Dallas), he has more than 50 employees and therefore would face a penalty on Jan. 1 of between $200,000 and $300,000 because he doesn’t provide health care to his staff. The “employer mandate” of the Affordable Care Act requires all businesses with 50 or more full-time employees provide health insurance to at least 95 percent of those employees and dependents up to age 26, or pay a fee.
“I don’t have that kind of money,” Katz said, referring to the penalty. “So instead of 50 or 60 people without health care, we have 50 or 60 people that aren’t employed any more. It makes no sense.”
While the Obamacare reason is sure to turn some heads, there were obviously other factors that led to Frankie's shuttering — and construction in Sundance Square is a big one. Lengthy construction has shuttered many a DFW restaurant in recent years. Katz also told the Star-Telegram that business dips once football season ends. And there have been obvious troubles for restaurants trying to make it in downtown Fort Worth.
Even with all the other factors, Katz is adamant that the Affordable Care Act is the biggest driving factor in the closure.