AUSTIN, Texas - On Wednesday inside the Blind Pig, you could find owner Bob Woody stocking and preparing for opening night.
"People with all this good weather, they want to get out," he said.
Woody owns several bars mostly in the downtown entertainment districts. He was thrilled to hear the governor was allowing businesses to open at 100 percent capacity.
Woody said he did reopen some of his bars under the guise of restaurants in the middle of the pandemic, but things just weren’t the same. "Out of the 28 properties I have, about 60 percent of those opened as restaurants. It wasn’t the way we set it up," said Woody.
Last week, Austin Public Health spoke about businesses opening up, particularly bars. "I think it's reckless for bars to be open in the first place, especially now when we've got increasing concern about variants," said Dr. Mark Escott last week during an Austin Public Health press conference.
"I’m not going to listen to anyone say bars and restaurants caused this problem, because we were closed," said Woody.
Woody said customers can make decisions for themselves. "We are continuing to recommend you wear a mask if you want to. If you walk in here and look and think you don’t feel comfortable going in there, I totally understand," said Woody.
With vaccine availability to increase in the coming months, Woody feels confident the Austin hospitality industry can rebound.
"We can get the people in, the tourism in, we will see the convention business come back, hotels will get full, and we really need that," he said.