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Houston bars reflect on first day back in business during coronavirus pandemic

Right now, bars can only have 25 percent capacity inside, but there are no occupancy limits on the outside.

HOUSTON — Texas bars were forced to close for two months, but now, they’re finally open. They have to follow certain rules and can only have a fourth of their capacity, but still, they’ve been busy.

As one of the last places to open, Houston bars are finally back to life.

“Yesterday was amazing. It was a huge reunion. We’re definitely a neighborhood bar," said Ashley Webb, general manager of Porch Swing Pub.

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Webb said it’s not the same as it was.

“I made several shirts that just say I can’t hug my guests," Webb said.

But at least it’s something.

“It was busy, and it was a big transition just trying to figure out, sanitize pens, sanitize tables. It was a big learning experience, but I think we prepared ourselves really well. The day couldn’t have gone better," Webb said.

As for the customers, “It’s interesting to see how everyone’s perspective is when they walk in. Some are a little more comfortable than others, you can tell. But the good news is it was a positive feeling overall," said Darren Van Delden, owner of 77 Degrees.

Delden said it was nice just to feel normal. 

“At the end of the day, the energy and the positivity from just being out and about has been overwhelming which has been great," Van Delden said. 

Right now, bars can only have 25 percent capacity inside, but there are no occupancy limits on the outside.

Friday, the city announced they are not giving citations to bars that are not following the rules. Webb believes that may entice some bars to loosen up.

“There’s always going to be bars that aren’t going to comply and take advantage. There’s always going to be that," Webb said.

In the end, she said you need to decide where to go.

“I don’t think that you need to put yourself in a situation that you don’t feel comfortable with. Walk away. Don’t go to that bar," Webb said.

Some of the things you need to look out for when going to a bar: all tables should be 6 feet apart, video games or gaming areas should be closed, and dancing is discouraged.