SAN ANTONIO – A special team led by San Antonio Code Enforcement will be monitoring bars and restaurants across the city on Thursday night.
City of San Antonio Development Services Director Michael Shannon said the team was assembled due to issues brought to light by violations at The Well bar on the Northwest Side over the weekend.
“Recently, we found one facility that clearly had problems with lack of social distancing, lack of enforcing any type of controls in making sure people were seated at their tables, a lack of enforcing masks for their patrons,” Shannon said.
About a dozen people will be teamed up and deployed to restaurants and bars to do random check-ins or follow up on complaint calls from Thursday to Saturday nightly. Shannon said the Code Enforcement team’s purpose is to seek out violators.
“We know there’s a lot of businesses that are following the rules that are very diligent about the safety requirements and the health and safety of the patrons,” Shannon said. “But, there’s some that are not. And we need to really go out and find those.”
Recently, changes by the state allowed some bars to reopen as restaurants with a special certificate. That business reopening increase has the city on alert about possible concerns about lack of social distancing.
San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg expressed his issue over The Well bar situation this past weekend, saying it’s not fair to those businesses trying to do the right thing.
“The blatant disregard for the well-being of other people, including those that were in that establishment,” Nirenberg said, “but also, on behalf of all the other small business owners in this community that are trying to do it the right way.”
Shannon says citations will be issued, and shutdowns could take place if the business does not comply.
Since March, according to online city data, of the roughly 90 encounters where citations were issued, 17 involved a restaurant or bar.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission will be notified if requested, according to a TABC spokesperson.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office says deputies have handed out 12 citations since March. That number has not changed in over a month. A spokesperson says the sheriff’s office’s efforts are to inform businesses about the requirements made by the city and county.