‘Completely blindsided’: Bar industry workers share their experience after second closing of Texas bars

'This is a snowball effect that is devastating families'

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SAN ANTONIO – Open, closed, open, closed - such is the way for Texas bars, which were reclosed Friday at noon after Gov. Greg Abbott issued a new executive order in an effort to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19.

Abbott’s order reclosed bars and establishments whose receipts consist of 51% or more of alcohol sales. Abbott blamed “bar-type settings” among the reasons for widespread cases of coronavirus over the last month in Texas, saying that “in reality, just doesn’t work with a pandemic,” Texas Tribune reported.

The state has reported nearly 160,000 cases and nearly 2,500 deaths this year. Bexar County reported its highest number of new daily cases on Tuesday.

Texas bars were closed in mid-March, allowed to reopen at 25% capacity on May 22, got the go-ahead to increase capacity to 50% on June 3, and then on June 26, Abbott issued an executive order to reclose all bars with roughly 3 hours notice.

“If I could go back and redo anything, it probably would have been to slow down the opening of bars, now seeing in the aftermath of how quickly the coronavirus spread in the bar setting,” Abbott said.

Gov. Greg Abbott expresses regret over reopening Texas bars during coronavirus

But those back-and-forth closures have left many who depend on the bar industry for income concerned about how they’re going to make ends meet. KSAT spoke with several people in the bar industry around San Antonio who shared their experience navigating the bar closures in an industry that is rapidly changing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“I personally could not disagree with it more, especially how it was announced. For all previous shutdowns, we were given some type of hint or warning that the shutdown was going to happen. This time around we all woke up one morning only to be completely blindsided with another shutdown, but with no inclination as to how long we would be forced to close,” said Jordan Engberg, a bartender in San Antonio with nearly 10 years of experience.

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