Texas Bars Prepare to Reopen, Await Official Date

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Texas bars have been closed for more than 50 days at an estimated economic hit of more than $600 million and $42 million in tax revenue.

The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance (TBNA) presented a 10-point plan to Gov. Greg Abbott’s office and hopes to hold a ‘soft opening’ Friday, May 15.

“TBNA is encouraging its members to conduct a soft reopening this coming Friday, May 15th from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. The soft reopening will give businesses and employees an opportunity to put in to practice those procedures in our 10 Part Plan,” TBNA Executive Director, Quincy Barnes said in a press release. “This opening will NOT include patrons or the general public, but businesses will remove all boards from windows, turn on lights and music and have employees on-staff to enjoy a DJ or Live Music.”

Some North Texas bars have been preparing changes in their bars for weeks, waiting for the green light to open from the governor’s office.

“We started cleaning from the ceiling down. Everything has been cleaned top to bottom,” Christie's Sports Bar owner Ashton Christie said. “Even the building had a company come in and shock the building a basically get everything prepared to the layout of how they want it laid out for us and be ready to flip the switch and go.”

Christie said the financial burden of being closed as been staggering.

Christie said, “$459,000 in sales for the time that we’ve been shut down and probably $100,000-plus with rent and taxes and your normal everyday stuff. We’re still in the hole big, but at least give us the opportunity to open and see how the world will react once we can open and who is all going to come out and will they come out in flocks and if they do how do we maintain it?”

Listed below are the TBNA Guidelines to Safe Reopening of 51% Alcohol Licenses as provided to Gov. Abbott by TBNA President Michael Klein:

  1. 51% of licenses will maintain occupancy in accordance with CDC recommendations and in collaboration with the state, aligning with full-service restaurants.
  2. 51% of licenses will install tables and chairs to eliminate open areas and encourage patrons to sit instead of standing to maintain social distancing.
  3. 51% of licenses will hire additional door staff to ensure that social distancing guidelines are met and that groups of patrons do not form. This will also provide additional jobs for Texans.
  4. 51% of licenses will adhere to the Texas Restaurant Promise adopted in the Phase I opening of restaurants.
  5. Coordination with local city governments to maintain the suspension of road closures in entertainment districts.
  6. Adoption of single-use plastic cups and paper plates.
  7. Mandatory and supervised use of hand sanitizer before entry and re-entry.
  8. Encourage all staff to retake TABC certification class online.
  9. All staff must wear masks during operating hours and encourage patrons to wear masks.
  10. Enforcement: TABC has legal authority to immediately suspend any license that poses an immediate threat or danger to public safety for 90 days.
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