WACO, Texas – Governor Greg Abbott is now allowing restaurants in Texas to open back up to 75 percent capacity as of Monday, but bars remain closed.
“It’s disheartening to see our governor do this. There are so many people affected by this. It’s not just the bar owners. It’s the people that work,” says Camilla Safady, a Harker Heights citizen.
Safady and her family have been in the business of owning bars for around 40 years. The tradition started with her late father, and now her son has a bar of his own.
“Of course my son, even though he is a college graduate, decided to come back from the East Coast and open his own bar here,” says Safady.
Her son, Richard Rasamny, owns the Lone Star Saloon in Harker Heights- a bar he has managed for about two years – but now he is unable to use the bar to make a living.
“Because bars are nationally recognized as COVID-spreading locations. They are still not able to open at this time,” says Governor Abbott.
“They’ve been closed for almost six months, if you look at the first closure and then the second closure,” says Safady.
Governor Abbott says they are focusing on finding ways to reopen bars in Texas.
“We need to see COVID numbers continue to be contained. We need to work with the bars on protective strategies so that when they do open the spread of COVID-19 is contained,” says Governor Abbott.
Some bar owners are applying for restaurant licenses in order to reopen, but Safady says these kinds of licenses are not cheap.
“Think about those bar owners that have been shut down, and they’re livelihood has been stripped from there. Many of them can’t afford it. They’re at a point where they’re deciding if they should give up or shut their business down,” says Safady.
Rasamny has applied for his own restaurant license to get his business back up and running, but Safady says it’s not fair.
“He has now applied for his blue license and paid the money. Thank God we can do that, but there are so many people who can’t do it,” says Safady.