AUSTIN, Texas - Governor Greg Abbott's restarting of the Texas economy continues as the next phase in the governor's plan goes into effect today.
Bars across the state are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity with no restrictions on outdoor areas but there will be protocols in place.
Some bars in Austin opened at midnight and more plan to open today but it's not business as usual for staff or customers.
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According to the governor's order, customers will not be allowed to physically go up to a bar itself to order a drink. Bar owners are being encouraged to physically block off bars and remove bar stools so customers don't sit or order there.
Wait staff can only provide service to seated individuals and tables of more than six people are not allowed.
Any activities that encourage close contact are discouraged so tables and chairs must be set up in a way to encourage social distancing.
Businesses are being told to train all employees and contractors on the appropriate precautionary etiquette and must screen them before entering.
One bar goer who was out in downtown Austin on 6th Street thanks Governor Abbott for reopening the bar scene and even with the changes he said he and his crew loved it.
"They're having social distancing and that kind of stuff. So, that's cool, and they actually sprayed my hand before I walked in there. So they're doing safe COVID-19 procedures," said David Bennett.
Douglas Currie, an assistant manager at 77 Degrees, worked at midnight and says people need to stick to the rules if they want bars to remain open.
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"I believe the situation will hold as long as the community stays with the situation and holds with all the precautions we've put in order already so that we can make a safe environment for everybody else," Currie says.
For places with more than 10 employees present, Governor Abbott suggests dedicating someone to ensure all health protocols are successfully implemented and followed.
Masks are not mandatory but they are encouraged.
Other businesses allowed to reopen today include bowling alleys, wine tasting rooms, breweries, bingo halls, skating rinks, rodeo and equestrian events, and aquariums.
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