AUSTIN, Texas - Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Icehouse, on West 6th Street, has been open for two weeks. Austin Talley, Director of Operations, is thanking the community for showing its support.
The bar has seen record-breaking numbers compared to last year. “We are essentially a restaurant,” said Talley. “We converted to that business model and we are doing okay. We are surviving.”
Hundreds of bars in Texas have converted to restaurants to reopen their doors. This comes after Governor Greg Abbott dialed back reopenings, closed establishments that served alcohol when cases climbed in June.
On Monday, Governor Abbott announced more openings to come on Twitter, “Texans have continued to keep COVID under control. The hospitalizations, number of new positive cases, and positivity rate remain contained. Today was one of the lowest fatalities in a long time. I will be announcing more openings soon.”
The tweet had a picture of two mugs of beer. The governor’s office has not set a date or provided any further information about the announcement.
Austin Public Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott briefed county commissioners Tuesday, reporting the curve in Travis County is flattening and the 7-day rolling average of hospital admissions needs to get to 10 before he’d feel comfortable with additional openings.
“It’s hard for us to get past it but hopefully through continued vigilance like masking, social distancing, and hygiene, we can continue to try to push through that barrier of 12,” said Dr.Escott.
Michael Klein, President of the Texas Bar and Nightlife Alliance said bars are operating smoothly as restaurants but need the freedom to go back to business as usual. “This is more of a regulatory issue, erasing some of the regulatory circus that has been happening these past six months and putting extra burden on people for unnecessary steps in order to have their business open,” said Klein. “We are now at the point where businesses can get back to doing what they do best.”
Talley welcomes the possibility of reopening.
“Everyone up and down Sixth Street would love to just conduct business as usual, allow the market to decide who survives and doesn’t survive,” said Talley. “If Abbott allows my industry, this industry to go 100% capacity we will keep implementing rules as deemed fit.”