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Texas Bars Reopen At Limited Capacity

David J. Phillip
Associated Press
Eryn Perez, a manager at Mo's Irish Pub, walks behind an empty bar on St. Patrick's Day.

Bars in Texas can reopen at 25% capacity Friday as part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s phased plan to end COVID-19 shutdowns.

The bar itself will be off-limits, though, as the governor’s order requires everyone indoors to sit at a table with no more than six people. Outdoor seating areas, like bar patios and beer gardens, have no limits on capacity.

Johnnye Michael, a co-owner of Panther Island Brewing in Fort Worth, expected the taproom’s reopening on Friday to be a busy one. She said they’ve been stocking up on protective equipment and cleaning supplies in preparation.

"We're a small, family-owned company, and our taproom is one of our lifelines,” Michael said. “And so we saw if we could do it in a safe and responsible manner, that we would reopen the taproom. If we wouldn't have been prepared, then we would not be opening."

Customers will get a squirt of hand sanitizer at the door and employees will be enforcing social distancing rules, Michael said.

Turning Point Beer in Bedford won't reopen just yet, said co-owner JP Goytia, because they wanted to take the time to make sure everyone is as safe as possible.

“We truly 100% care about our customers and care about our employees, and if we're gonna fly by the seat of our pants and take a risk like this, it's not really worth the life, you know?” Goytia said.

The governor’s bar reopening checklist emphasizes the coronavirus is still spreading, and even people who don’t seem sick can pass it on.

Got a tip? Email Miranda Suarez at msuarez@kera.orgYou can follow Miranda on Twitter @mirandarsuarez.

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Miranda Suarez is KERA’s Tarrant County accountability reporter. Before coming to North Texas, she was the Lee Ester News Fellow at Wisconsin Public Radio, where she covered statewide news from the capital city of Madison. Miranda is originally from Massachusetts and started her public radio career at WBUR in Boston.