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Governor Greg Abbott says bars can open in Texas on May 22 under these rules

COVID-19 social distancing guidelines still in effect for Texas bars

Bar patron
Bar patron (Pexels)

SAN ANTONIO – Bars are officially allowed to open back up for business in Texas starting Friday, May 22 but they may only operate at 25% capacity for in-person service.

The capacity limit will be based on the listed occupancy for the establishment, according to Gov. Abbott’s Strike Force to Open Texas.

Bars and other similar establishments with a permit from TABC that are not considered restaurants are all included in the businesses allowed to start reopening.

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Restaurants, previously allowed to operate at 25% capacity, will be allowed to increase to 50% of the total listed occupancy inside the establishment starting Friday. “This (50% capacity) applies only to restaurants that have less than 51% of their gross sales from alcoholic beverages,” according to the strike force.

The strike force listed the following protocols for bars:

  • Customers should not be permitted to loiter at the bar or in commonly trafficked areas, and should remain seated at tables inside the bar.
  • Only provide service to seated individuals.
  • Parties should maintain at least 6 feet of distance from other parties at all times, including while waiting to be seated in the establishment or for admission to the establishment.
  • Activities that enable close human contact, including but not limited to dancing, are discouraged.
  • Pathways for patrons’ ingress and egress should be clear and unobstructed.
  • Designate staff to ensure customers maintain a 6-foot distance between parties if customers are waiting to enter the bar or similar establishment.
  • A hand sanitizing station should be available upon entry to the establishment.
  • No tables of more than 6 people.

Some people infected with COVID-19 show little to no symptoms, making it easy to spread to others. “Even if an infected person is only mildly ill, the people they could spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if they are 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions that place them at higher risk,” according to the strike force.

Patrons are being asked to “take actions based on common sense and wise judgment that will protect health and support economic revitalization.”

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