HOUSTON — Bar owners across Texas are hopeful after a tweet by Gov.Greg Abbott hinted that bars may soon be allowed to fully reopen for the first time since June.
Only bars with permits to sell food and those that reclassified as restaurants have been allowed to reopen since late August.
Abbott tweeted Monday that key COVID numbers “remained contained.” He promised he’ll announce more openings soon and posted a photo of two beer glasses.
“That little social media post was pretty telling,” said Michael Klein, President of the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance. “Everybody’s excited.”
Klein said he’s still waiting on reopening details.
“The governor’s office actually hasn’t communicated directly with us since May,” Klein said while referencing ongoing legal action.
However, Klein said the governor’s staff has received the reopening plan TBNA sent. It limits capacity to 50% indoors and safe spacing between tables outdoors.
The plan also requires customers to stay seated, avoid mingling with other groups and wear a mask when not at their table.
“There are some things you can do, but you can’t completely control it,” said Dr. Catherine Troisi, an infectious disease epidemiologist with UT Health School of Public Health.
Troisi recommends bars also turn down the music.
“Speaking louder or shouting means you can propel the virus farther,” she said.
Troisi said it’s up to each person to weigh their own personal risk.
“As our mothers told us, ‘Just 'cause you can do something doesn’t mean you should do something,’” she said.
Klein is confident that bars are on tap for success when they're allowed to open.
“Things have gone very smoothly,” he said.
KHOU reached out to Abbott’s office on Tuesday for specifics on a possible bar reopening plan but has not heard back.