The Reopening of the Texas Bars in 2020

Oct. 14th, 2020, was the reopening of the bars to the public of Texas. The bars had closed down earlier this year due to the rising numbers in COVID-19 and forced the public gathering bars to close down. The closing and reopening of the bars has been tough on college students and adults because it limits how long bars sell alcohol and the capacity.

The bars all around Texas have been shut down that had limited college students/ adults from having something fun to do. A statewide stay-home order occurred, which made people stay indoors for two weeks and eliminated any kind of social gathering with other people. When the bars had reopened, Johnathan Monterossa, a customer, was worried about how him and his friends can be safe with COVID-19 going on. Monterossa said, “Anytime I need to get up to order a drink or use the restroom, I wear my face mask.” People have concerns and are thinking of how to keep themselves and others safe during this difficult time. If everyone is able to follow the safety guidelines when being out in the public, then this will allow the bars to remain in business and keep the state from shutting down the bars again.

The bars could quickly be shut down and lose their alcohol permit if they don’t follow the COVID-19 safety standards. This could be not paying attention to people wearing face masks, not being strict on social distancing or not follow the capacity limits that are set for the bars. In October, Gov. Greg Abbott had allowed the bars to reopen at 50% capacity. As time went on, the capacity limit has increased at certain bars allowing more people to come in and enjoy a night with their friends. Depending on the size of the bar, determines what is the capacity limit for customers to come in. Jessica Raider, bartender at the Oasis located in Grand Prairie, TX, has no worries as she enforces the capacity and requirements for people who come in to eat and be at the bar. 75% capacity for the bar/restaurant with a face mask is required as well as maintaining social distancing at the tables to keep others safe. Four bars in Dallas, had already lost their bar permit for 30 days because they did not follow the state health and safety rules. The first punishment for violation is a 30 day license suspension and the next violation is a 60 day license suspension. It is important to remind others that COVID-19 is still going on and people can indeed still get sick from attending the social gathering. The bars are currently enforcing the policy that people must be seated while eating or drinking.

There is a lot more work than one expects for these bars to stay in business with COVID-19 going on. The bar workers have to not only maintain and control the actions of how people are when drinking, but they have to also sanitize and clean the area if a group were to leave the bar. Before March 2020, the bars did not have this little of capacity for the amount of people able to enter the bar. Previously, the bars had an open floor to the public that allowed people to dance to the music and socialize with other groups. In June 2020, the TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) inspected over 20,000 establishments serving alcohol. Over 650 ended with a violation and 208 ended with an emergency order request and had to shut their bar down to the public. Tyler McNamee, a bartender at Bombshells located in Austin, TX, said the bars “were more open, we could have anyone at the bar and didn’t have to worry about TABC rules” meaning that there was less rules and limits to how they currently are today. The bars have signs inside and outside the building to enforce the COVID-19 safety rules by making sure people wear face masks, wash their hands/have hand sanitizer and are seated away from another social group to maintain social distancing. As a social event, the customers at the bar are starting to understand that these rules are crucial to follow as they would like to see a public gathering event like the bars to remain open during this time. Bartenders and customers both must follow the procedures to prevent the bars from closing down for a third time this year. If people are still concerned and worried about their health, then the best solution is to not attend these social gatherings and bars.

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