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'We're worried about our future' | New COVID-19 risk level chart not sitting well with bar owners

A recently released survey by the Texas Medical Association placed bars at the bottom of the list

HOUSTON, Texas — The Eagle Houston was flying high when Texas bars were allowed to reopen in May and even instituted safety measures beyond what the CDC recommends.

But being back in business, even with limited capacity, only lasted about a month.

"We're worried about our future," said co-owner Caryn Craig. "Because at this time, there’s no plan to reopen us. We don’t have a date, we don’t even have a guideline.”

That’s why owners Caryn Craig and Mark De Lange found it odd that bars are at the bottom of a new chart compiled by the Texas Medical Association.

The bottom actually means the highest risk when it comes to contracting COVID-19.

"It feels like this is politically motivated and we’re the scapegoat, unfortunately,” said De Lange.

RELATED: Map: Keeping track of Houston-area coronavirus cases

The TMA told us its chart is based on the opinions of doctors across the state who serve on its COVID-19 task force and is simply meant to be a guideline as many different types of businesses and other places re-open.

"What happens in a vacuum is that there’s a lot of misinformation, people do things that aren’t safe," said Dr. Ogechika Alozie, a TMA Member. "And I think this, at least, gives them sort of a structure about “'hey, this makes sense – this may not make sense.'”

Other high-risk activities, along with going to bars, include going to a gym, amusement park, concert or any church service with more than 500 people.

Getting take-out is a low-risk activity while dining in has a moderate to high risk, according to the chart.

Surprisingly, going to a beach is seen as even less risky than that, although, Texas beaches were shut down over the July 4th holiday.

"People need to, at the very least, understand that outdoors is better than indoors, less crowd is better than more crowd, high touch is worse than low touch,” said Dr. Alozie.

The Eagle’s owners feel bars can be just a safe as restaurants and other places if properly run and monitored.

"Our hope is that cases decline here and that our business can reopen as soon as possible," said Craig.  "And, more so, that we can be treated fairly.”

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