Local bars voice frustration after Abbott shuts down businesses again

The Texas governor announced Friday morning that he is once again closing bars and reducing restaurant capacity to 50%.
Published: Jun. 26, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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WEST TEXAS (KOSA) - Governor Greg Abbott announced Friday morning that he is once again shutting down bars and reducing restaurant capacity to 50%. The restrictions come less than two months after Abbott allowed businesses across Texas to re-open.

The closure is déjà vu for vendors like Tall City Brewing Company, which was forced to shut its doors for the months of April and May, surviving off of only to-go drinks sales.

“I’m definitely frustrated,” co-founder Jarrod Sparks said. “It just seems like the governor doesn’t fully understand the difference between a classic bar and a brewery. There are places that are a much more bar-like atmosphere that, because they serve food, can get away with a 50% sign.”

One such location is the Neon Moon Karaoke Bar. It will remain open, because it is just a section of the Pojo’s Restaurant, and well over 50% of the businesses sales come from food.

“I blessed to be able to have both,” owner Donna Griffith said. “I used to think a 24-hour was a problem because it’s tiring, but it’s actually turned out good for me because I am able to stay open. Anyone who is an actual bar just got shut down again. I know their frustration because we all feel like we’re the easy target. ‘Oh shut down bars’. It’s easier for them to say ‘shut down bars’ than to say ‘let’s shut down the mall’.”

While restaurants have until Monday to reduce capacity back to 50%, bars only had until noon on Friday to lock up.

“There was no warning of anything,” Sparks said. “You get a notice at 9 o’clock in the morning, and we already had a food vendor lined up. They’re their own individual small business, and now they’re going to take a beating because they don’t have a place to go.”

“We’re just trying to stay afloat,” Griffith said. “This whole shutting down of bars and restaurants first, and not applying that to everybody else is very frustrating for the bar owners. I was frustrated, and I have a blessed opportunity that they don’t have, and I was frustrated.”

The new order also shut down river-rafting trips and banned outdoor gatherings of over 100 people, unless local officials approve.

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