MCLENNAN COUNTY, Texas – After months of closing, some Texas bars have received the green light to reopen.
Some bar owners say they are excited to finally get back into the routine and make money. Although still in pandemic, they are taking precautions.
“When it comes to health, my health, and my employees’ health, I’m playing it safe over here. I’m optimistically cautious that this will go well. This opening,” says Paxton Dove, the owner of the Dancing Bear Pub.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said bars will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity, but customers must be seated while eating and drinking. Employees will not be counted against the capacity limit. Also, there is no outdoor occupancy limit for outdoor dining.
During McLennan County’s weekly meeting, leaders and health experts had mixed reactions regarding the reopening.
“I think if they are in compliance with the regulations, to me, it’s not different from having a restaurant open,” Waco Mayor Kyle Deaver said.
Dr. Jackson Griggs of the Mclennan County Health District remained skeptical.
“As far as this bar order goes, we’re not in a safe place as a community,” Griggs added.
Back in June, Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars to close after a spike in COVID-19 cases across the state. The sudden loss of revenue caused some bars to switch their classification to operate as a restaurant in order to stay open.
Under the current regulation, bars must close at 11:00 p.m.