Well it appears Operation Safe Open, the undercover task force the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, has been busy — suspending the permits of 17 bars and restaurants across Texas who weren't doing what they should have been doing to slow the spread of COVID-19.
Among them was one Houston establishment, HandleBar Houston, 5219 Washington Avenue, who although its website says it will open at 4 p.m. today will not be able to serve alcohol at its self-professed "Adult Wonderland." It and the others named by TABC will have their liquor operations suspended for 30 days.
Although the TABC announcement doesn't say specifically what each restaurant or bar did to score a violation, in general they are dealing with requirements of no more than 50 percent capacity for bars and 75 percent for restaurants as well as social distancing of at least six feet between groups of customers.
"TABC is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that are a threat to public health and safety. TABC has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. The first infraction will result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in up to a 60-day suspension."
“These violations represent a very small number of the 3,500 licensed businesses inspected by TABC since the beginning of May,” TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly said in a press release. “A large majority of business owners are showing their commitment to keeping customers and employees safe, and we’re grateful for all of their hard work. TABC is committed to assisting the industry as we all work for a safe Texas.”
The businesses issued an emergency order for a 30-day permit suspension are:
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Burnhouse, San Antonio
The Cantina (W. Exchange Ave.), Fort Worth
Soho Lounge, Austin
Siete Banderas, Laredo
Electric Cowboy, Longview
Handlebar Houston, Houston
BARge 295, Seabrook
Harris House of Heroes, Dallas
The New PR’s, Fort Worth
UnBARlievable (West 6th), Austin
Little Woodrow’s, Lubbock
Coconuts, El Paso
Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden, Austin
Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse, Austin
Werk Bar, El Paso
Marty’s Live, Dallas
Elevate Night Club, McAllen