Reopening Phase Three: Bars, Restaurants see Capacity Rise

Local News

WACO, Texas – Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to reopen Texas hit Phase Three this week – which, in part, allows bars and restaurants to raise their capacity from 25 percent of its normal capacity to 50 percent.

For Barnett’s Pub’s General Manager Dezeray King, the change is a welcome one.

“We’ve all had a little bit too much time on our hands at 25 percent capacity,” King said. “We’re ready to be busy again.”

As should be expected, it will bring a bump not only in business, but also in morale inside the pub.

“It’s gonna be quite a boost,” King said. “We’ve had a lot of seats, we have upstairs, waiting for them to be filled, so we’re excited to be able to have more people down here.”

While only being allowed to work at one-quarter of their capacity for two weeks now, King felt it took away from a little bit of the pub’s personality.

“It’s been strange for all the bartenders that are used to talking to all their friends at the bar top,” King said. “Moving all the tables apart and only having a limited capacity was kind of tough to adjust to, but we understand why we were doing it.”

FOX44 spoke with the Backyard Bar Stage and Grill’s co-owner Chris Cox when it was allowed to reopen last month. He still thinks his bar’s vast outdoor space gives it something of an advantage over the competition during in terms of limited capacity challenges.

“Going from 25 to 50 percent doesn’t really affect us much, except inside,” Cox said. “Outside, with no occupancy, as long as our tables were six feet apart, we could fit as many as we wanted up to our original capacity.”

The outside space also allows for them to continue their summer concert series, which Cox says is a major revenue generator for the bar.

Maybe the biggest change with the bump in capacity, however, is giving customers the chance to order their drinks at the bar.

“At 25 percent [capacity], you couldn’t go to the bar and order,” Cox said. “In the 50 percent [capacity] you can, but you can’t hang around there. You got to order and leave. I think that will help a lot of people.”

According to the governor’s plan, bars and restaurants can raise their capacity to 75 percent on June 12.

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