"The Den" reopens with new public health guidelines

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) -- The Den, a gentlemen's club in Cheyenne, is reopening its doors to the public (assuming they are of legal age).

In accordance with state mandates, the club is operating with a new set of public health guidelines in place, such as keeping guests at least six feet apart, sanitizing surfaces that have made human contact and keeping staff properly equipped with personal protective equipment.

"Scrubbing everything down when customers leave: tables, chairs, the pole, the stage," lists Jenny Boswell, a social media manager and dancer for the club. "Hand sanitizer is kind of just everywhere in the club, so [we just do] basic common-sense-type things."

While workers are happy to reopen, as it means they have income once again, the new operational policies come with their own set of issues.

"Sometimes it can definitely be inconvenient, because we do wear eight-inch heels, and sometimes with the mask, your vision, and with the eight-inch heels, you need to be seeing where your foot is going," says Boswell. "So, it's definitely different, but as long as we're allowed to work, I will do whatever needs to be done."

The roughly month-and-a-half-long closure hurt the club's finances a great deal, and due to its designation as a venue for "adult entertainment," it did not qualify for funding from the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program started by the recent CARES Act to assist struggling small businesses in covering payroll costs.

"It wasn't something that we could take advantage of because of our industry," says Kim Chavez, the owner of The Den. "It was very discouraging -- I think a little discriminating -- for sure."

While Chavez says she has five hired staff members in total -- two bartenders, a disc jockey, a security person and a doorman -- there are 13 contracted dancers rotating shifts during the week and 25 during the weekend.

Workers from the club suffered from the financial loss during the closure, as without the earnings from their work at the club, many struggled to provide for their families.

In an effort to help these workers, The Den collaborated with The Honey Baked Ham Company in Greeley, Colorado, to provide Easter dinners during April.

"We felt very impacted for us to take some initiative and do something for all our workers," says Chavez. "[We] provided 45 Easter dinners to all of our workers and our contract workers. That was just something that our staff and our girls really appreciated at that time in need."

Despite the hardships, Chavez says the club has seen a lot of business ever since reopening this past weekend.

"We have been seeing a lot of success," she says. "I mean, everybody's been cooped up at home. They want to get out, they want to get some fresh air, they want to sit down and have a drink, and the people have just been very appreciative and happy that they're able to get out and have a drink at the den."

Current public health mandates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic are set to last through the end of May.

For more information on policies for state businesses, visit the Wyoming Department of Health's website.