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Bar owners devastated after Gov. Abbott announces other businesses can expand capacity

Big Hops owner unsure what to do now

SAN ANTONIORob Martindale’s once-popular beer pub, Big Hops, is empty, only open for beer-to-go for a few hours on Fridays and Saturdays. Still, Martindale said he was holding out hope Gov. Greg Abbott would allow bars like his to reopen to some extent.

Instead, the Abbott announced Thursday that bars would remain closed until there’s a way for them to reopen safely.

“It’s devastating. We don’t know what to do next,” Martindale said.

He said he and other bar owners had seen the flattening of the curve in COVID-19 cases as an encouraging sign. But it didn’t help.

“I don’t understand how you can open up Texas Stadium to 30,000 people. How can you have other large businesses open ... and then still shut down our industry for five months?” Martindale said.

Although some in the bar industry took the State of Texas to court after they were shut down a second time in June, Martindale said the legal challenges would take months to resolve.

As it is, Martindale said he’s heard that many bars may not survive beyond Oct. 1. He said many of his customers now go to restaurants to drink.

“They’re packed up and getting cited, and the city is all over them,” Martindale said. “But yet we can’t open in a safe manner? We’re not even allowed to try.”


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