On the first night of Operation Safe Open, an effort by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to inspect businesses across Texas to ensure they’re following protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19, agents inspected more than 200 establishments and found evidence to suspend the permits of three bars. Among them was Dallas gay bar Marty’s Live on Maple Avenue, along with Werk Bar in El Paso and Elevate Night Club in McAllen. The businesses were issued an emergency order for a 30-day permit suspension.
The Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas has developed specific guidelines bars and restaurants must follow to safely restart their businesses. These requirements include indoor customer capacity limits of 50% for bars and 75% for restaurants, along with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups of customers.
“Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions.”
TABC is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that are a threat to public health and safety. TABC has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. The first infraction will result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in up to a 60-day suspension.