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Bars and Restaurants Can't Require Proof of Vaccination According to New State Law

The TABC is in charge of enforcing this, and it comes to the forefront after recent concerts

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Billy Bob's Texas reopened about a year ago after being shut down during the early stages of the pandemic. Jason Isbell recently performed there, and because of COVID-19, required either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.

“We weren't trying to make a political stance. We were just trying to do a gig. It is not part of Billy Bob's policy. It is not part of Billy Bob's future,” said General Manager Marty Travis.

At Dos Equis pavilion, there were the same rules for a Maroon 5 concert. We reached out to Live Nation, who confirmed the rules for the Maroon 5 concert were put in place by the artist. However, the company told us last week, "as of October 4th, Live Nation’s fully owned & operated venues and festivals in the US will be requiring all artists and fans to either show proof of COVID vaccination or a negative COVID test, where permitted by law." Dos Equis Pavillion is a fully owned and operated venue.

A new state law passed during the legislative session prohibits businesses from asking patrons for proof of vaccination. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission is in charge of enforcing it.

Their public information officer says the goal when this happens, is to work with the business.

“This isn't a case where we are going to hear a complaint and then go and immediately shut down a business. It is something where we are going and trying to ensure that these businesses understand what is needed, and then from there we are able to get them back into compliance voluntarily,” said Chris Porter, public information officer for TABC.

Travis said he has a good relationship with the TABC, and they talked after the show. This is what he told them.

“Moving forward I have no plans of doing it. I have no artists on contract that have asked for that. It was that one show, one night, and they said okay well enjoy your weekend. That was the end of the story," added Travis.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley finds the law frustrating, that businesses can’t decide for themselves.

“Business folks who are looking to come to Texas are going to say 'now wait a minute, we thought this was a business-friendly state, we can make our own decisions, and now all of a sudden maybe we need to question that,'" said Whitely. But while the law applies to vaccination, it does not apply to negative COVID-19 tests.

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