WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas - Bars are gearing up to reopen in Williamson County. On Wednesday, they are allowed to 50% capacity as the county judge opted into the governor’s recent executive order.
“I can’t wait to open, it feels good,” said Sonya Holloway the owner of Cedar Park Pub.
From tables that promote social distancing to signs that say no hugging, the Cedar Park Pub spent Monday getting ready to open back up for later in the week. “People can only go so long without an income so it’s good. If everyone follows the rules we should be alright,” said Holloway.
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Holloway said they’ve been shut down since March because of the governor’s order earlier this year. An order which closed bars to prevent the spread of covid-19. “It’s been tough, almost all my employees have gone elsewhere,” said Holloway.
Now with the change to reopen to 50% capacity, the Cedar Park Pub is looking to get back to business. “We have sanitizing systems everywhere, we have sanitizer in the bathrooms. Every time someone uses the bathroom we’ll sanitize it, we are doing the same thing with the jukebox,” said Holloway.
While it’s been tough being closed, Holloway said she decided to use this time to renovate the bar. “Repaint the whole inside, add fans, add ventilation bought more smoke eaters so it was a good time to upgrade an improve,” said Holloway.
In order for a county to opt-in to the governor’s order to reopen bars, the county judge must first apply through the TABC.
Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell signed and submitted his opt-in form to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner on October 8, 2020, so that more Williamson County businesses can be open to serve the public.
“Williamson County residents have shown that they can follow guidelines established to stop the spread of COVID-19 and get back to business. Not business as usual, but business that is conducted following the protocols determined by health professionals to keep everyone safe. We need all of our businesses to be open and operate safely so that everyone has the opportunity to work and support their families,” said Judge Gravell in a news release.
Some of the health protocols include that patrons at bars or similar establishments may eat or drink only while seated, except that in an establishment that holds a permit from TABC as a brewer, distiller/rectifier, or winery, customers may sample beverages while standing so long as they are in a group of six people or fewer and there is at least six feet of social distancing or engineering controls, such as partitions, between groups.
Where applicable, this 50 percent occupancy limit applies only indoors; the limit does not apply to outdoor areas, events, or establishments, although social distancing and other protocols must be followed.
Officials say that those who choose to go out should follow the health protocols that are recommended by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS).