Fredericton — Starting Oct. 1, anyone caught within 50 metres of the Tannery in downtown Fredericton will be charged a nominal cover fee of $5 on weekdays and $10 on weekends, on top of the regular cover charge determined by individual bars.
Patrons of Wilser’s Room and the Phoenix are used to having to pony up cover simply because some crappy local band is set to play at 11 p.m. in the adjoining Capital bar. The success of this blanket cover charge has inspired downtown bar proprietors to form a union and to collect cash from anyone in or near the Tannery.
The drinking establishments in the new union include Dolan’s Pub, Klub Khrome and Lava Vodka Bar, in addition to the 3 already housed in the Capital Complex. Bar owners will split the profits earned from the cover-charge initiative. The bars plan to hire several “cover cops” to police the downtown area and drain the pockets of anyone sniffing around the Tannery in search of food, booze, or entertainment.
“It’s not so bad, because if we catch you near the Tannery and charge you cover, we also give you a hand stamp so you’re free to walk by as much as you want that day,” said Greg Daniels, annoying keener and future cover cop. “If people don’t like it, they can stay home. They shouldn’t be drinking anyway.”
Frederictonians who live and work near the Tannery are upset, to say the least.
“How am I supposed to afford to pay cover just to show up for my shift?” exclaimed Sarah Palmer, employee at Smoke’s Poutinerie. “I only get minimum wage, so if my shift falls on a weekend, this could cost me an entire hour of work!”
“This is a load of bull!” echoed Victory Meat Market cashier Cassandra Martin. “I guess I’ll have to start shoving even more meat into my backpack after work to earn back what I’m paying in cover.”
The Manatee caught up with Mayor Brad Woodside at Heavy Rayne Tattoos and Piercings, where he was getting a permanent “C” etched atop his left hand. “Being the mayor, I have immunity,” he said. “I pay once for this hand-stamp tattoo, and after that I can drink as much as I want at any bar, any time.
“And it’ll really boost the local economy!” winced the mayor, tears of pain streaming down his face.
The City of Fredericton has given the go-ahead for the union to surround the 50-metre circumference of the Tannery with a red-velvet rope, so citizens know when they’ve entered cover territory.