AUSTIN, Texas - Bars are preparing to open up just as the state reports the highest number of new COVID-19 cases. Some folks are optimistic about the openings while others are still cautious about the virus.
On Friday boards were removed, windows and doors were washed. A soft opening during these hard times is happening in downtown Austin.
“It feels pretty good, it feels like progress is starting to happen,” said Beau Hicks, a bouncer at The Library on 6th Street, one of the many bars preparing to open back up despite there not being an official date from the state. “Austin is going to survive no matter what."
While people like Hicks are returning to work, customers can't just stop by for a drink this weekend. This soft opening is being led by the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance in an effort to bring awareness to the industry. These bars won’t be open to the public and no alcohol will be served.
Get breaking news alerts in the FOX 7 Austin News app. It is FREE!
“No matter what life has to keep moving if life comes to a halt, it’s going to be a burden on society. If we stay doing as we are doing, the things will shut down faster than we will be able to repair them,” said Hicks.
This move comes as the state reports its highest number of new COVID-19 cases yet this week. It’s these new numbers that have some residents hesitant about returning to bars. “I don’t know how I feel about things opening up already that’s concerning,” said Chloe Emanuel who lives in Austin.
Some are cautiously optimistic. “To see all this it makes my heart almost cry because we are ready,” said Cody Hinajosa who lives near downtown.
While that date for bars to reopen is still up in the air, Hicks said that’s not stopping them from preparing and taking steps to prove that it’s ok if they do. “We have to stay on top of everything we have to keep everything wiped down everything sanitized but at the same time we want to keep the customers happy,” said Hicks.
FOX 7 Austin is working to keep you up to date with coronavirus, with both local and national developments. Every weekday we're live at 12 p.m. with a special show reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.
You can also get the latest COVID-19 news from around the country at coronavirusnow.com.