Opening Bars in Texas is something Greg Abbott has wanted to do for months. Next week, he gets the chance. Abbott announced earlier this week that bars would be allowed to open in the state beginning on Wednesday, October 14. Bars allowed to open in Texas will do at the discretion of the Texas county commissioners, with a 50 percent capacity restriction.
“Even as more businesses have opened and students return to school, Texans have shown we can contain the spread of COVID-19. Thanks to Texans following the best health practices, our state is prepared for additional openings, including bars. Working with industry leaders and our team of medical experts, the State of Texas has now developed strategies to safely open bars under certain health protocols. To ensure bars open safely, these openings will be done in conjunction with county officials.
“County Judges will be able to opt their county into opening bars so long as they assist in enforcing the health protocols. Opening bars does not mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat, and most Texans are still susceptible to the virus. As bars and similar businesses begin to open, we all must remain vigilant and show personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones,” Abbott said in a statement.
However, only areas where COVID-19 hospitalizations account for less than 15 percent of total hospital capacity will be permitted to open. Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins said he will not be allowing bars to open, while Denton County Judge Andy Eads plans to permit the opening of establishments.
Bars briefly opened in June for a two week period, before a spike in COVID-19 cases saw the closure of bars once again and a reduction of 75 percent capacity in restaurants back down to 50%. In the recent months, some bars have been reclassifying as restaurants in order to reopen. For an establishment to be recognized as a restaurant, more than 50 percent of their sales must be food as opposed to alcohol.
This time around, let’s hope bars can take the proper safety measures and precautions to allow for a safe reopening while not contributing to a spike in COVID-19 cases.
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