A dozen Texas bars temporarily lose alcohol licenses for not following coronavirus protocols
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission has suspended alcohol licenses from a dozen bars in Texas for failure to comply with the Coronavirus protocols.
The TABC started conducting undercover bar inspections on Friday to determine if they met the guidelines.
The guidelines include an indoor customer capacity of 50% for bars and 75% for restaurants, and a social distance of at least 6 feet between customer groups, according to a TABC press release. Masks were not mentioned.
Over 3,000 facilities that were inspected over the weekend were suspended in 12 bars in Houston, Seabrook, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, Lubbock, El Paso, and McAllen for 30 days as part of Operation Safe Open.
A second violation could result in a 60-day suspension.
BARge 295 in Seabrook announced on its Facebook page that the alcohol license has been suspended so customers with a total of 30 people can stand outside the bar and gather around the outside. The total occupancy is 600.
"We intend to follow the order, but we appeal to it with the help of our lawyers," the post said.
TABC officials have released no information about what regulations are alleged to have been violated, but the agency has posted videos and photos on Twitter showing crowds of people crammed into the New PRs at Fort Worth, UnBARlievable in Austin, and Handlebar in Houston.
Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission
UPDATE: Permits for seven more bars suspended under Operation Safe Open. Learn more:
eases / 2020 / 20200621.asp
Video at the New PRs in Fort Worth and UnBARlievable (West 6th) in Austin 1/3
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"We have warned companies that TABC has no tolerance for breaking the rules and now some bars are paying the price," said Bentley Nettle, TABC Executive Director. "I hope that other institutions will learn from these suspensions."
Texas is one of the dozens of states where coronavirus cases are on the rise as phased plans to reopen open.
The state broke its record for COVID-19 hospitalizations on Monday for the eleventh consecutive year. State health officials reported 3,711 patients to Texas hospitals. New COVID-19 cases also set a record on Saturday. 4,430 cases were reported that day.
Governor Greg Abbott said Monday the rising rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations was "unacceptable," but said he had no plans to close the state
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"We need to find ways to go back to our daily routines and find ways to coexist with COVID-19," Abbott said in a press conference. "Closing Texas will always be the last option."
Texas is facing a fast approaching holiday weekend on July 4th, and early voting for the state runoff starts on June 29th. Both could bring crowds together.
Contributors: Nicole Cobbler and Nancy Flores, Austin American-Statesman; Associated Press. Follow Adrianna Rodriguez on Twitter: @AdriannaUSAT.
This article originally appeared in the US TODAY: Texas Bars are temporarily losing alcohol permits for violating COVID 19 rules
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