Collin County Judge Will Allow Bars to Open

NBC 5 News

On Thursday, Collin County Judge Chris Hill announced he will allow bars to reopen in his county.

The move comes one day after Governor Greg Abbott announced his plan to allow county judges in each Texas county to open bars starting October 14.

 “With the encouragement and recommendation of the doctors and scientists from Collin County Health Care Services, I will be filing the necessary paperwork with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) to allow Collin County bars to reopen next week,” Judge Hill announced.

Governor Abbott's orders allow bars across Texas to reopen at 50% of capacity, as long as the county’s hospitalization rate remains under 15% and the county judge consents.

“Our Collin County hospitals and healthcare professionals continue to serve our community with excellence,” said Judge Hill. “At no time this year has our hospital capacity been overwhelmed or threatened by COVID-19. Quite simply, Collin County should be completely open. I will listen to everyone, but will follow the science.”

Denton County Judge Andy Eads also plans to allow bars to reopen.

“I applaud the governor taking this much needed step to reopen Texas. Denton County has continued to do a great job with our cases down compared to other urbanized areas in North Texas,” Judge Eads said. “We feel for the financial pain these businesses have gone through and we fully support their reopening.”

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins responded to Governor Abbott's announcement Wednesday on Twitter said "I will not file to open them at this time. We are in orange but our numbers are increasing (Bad) I will listen to everyone but will follow the science."

Tarrant County PIO Bill Hanna told NBC 5 Judge Glen Whitley does not plan to make an immediate decision on reopening bars. He’ll consult with other leaders and decide in coming days. 

Bars in Texas have been closed since June 26 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Abbott tweeted on Monday, saying Texans have kept "COVID-19 under control" and that he would announce "more openings soon." He added a gif of two beer glasses with the word "cheers" to the tweet.

Hundreds of Texas bars reclassified as restaurants in the interim after a ruling from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission that allowed bars to reopen as a restaurant even if their total revenue from alcoholic beverages topped 51%.

The change allowed bars to count sales of prepackaged food, even chips and salsa – and eliminated the requirement for having an on-site kitchen.

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