AUSTIN, Texas - Bars across the state have been waiting to hear official word from Governor Abbott about when they’ll be able to re-open.
Several groups are saying if the Governor announces bars to be reopened at a 25 percent capacity, it won’t be good for business, others just want to make money again.
On Tuesday morning James Kopeck, who owns Chuter's in Pasadena, and Jay Norman, who owns Biggles in Houston, both traveled to the State Capitol to protest Governor Abbott’s plan to reopen the state. So did dozens of others.
"We follow all the same guidelines, health guidelines that they do, social distancing sanitizing we just need the chance to open up," Kopeck says.
However, they aren’t against the reopening. They’re hoping to be included soon since the Governor allowed Texas restaurants, malls, movie theaters, retail stores, salons, malls, gyms, and museums to open with some restrictions.
"They’re not even giving us a chance to open up no conversation Gov. Abbott asked for some dialogue on some guidelines and some help opening restaurants we repeatedly emailed and called and contacted we don’t even get a response from the Governor's Office," said Norman.
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The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance says they also haven’t heard back from the Governor. On Friday they sent a press release encouraging thousands of members in the state to have a “soft opening” this Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. It’s not open to the general public, but businesses are encouraged to remove all boards from windows, turn on lights, and enjoy music with employees.
TBNA is also proposing a reopening at 50 percent capacity on May 18th and at 100 percent capacity on June 1st. TBNA says the soft reopening on the 15th is a first step in exerting their constitutional rights.
"Just because you’re open doesn’t mean you’re going to come," said Trip Watson, who bartends at Whiskey Tango Foxtrot Icehouse on West 6th Street.
Watson says reopening at 25 percent capacity, like how other businesses have been operating, wouldn’t cut it for them.
"We don’t have a firm date to reopen, soft openings can happen for the bigger bars because they have so much space, it would be really hard to do it here, I think 50 percent capacity it would be justified, but there are risks involved there," Watson said.
Adam Rogers, co-owner of Buckshot, Two Bucks, and Buck Wild says it will be difficult for every bar, large or small but 25 percent capacity is the right step forward to make sure everyone’s safety is assured. He says it won't help financially but it will get the ball rolling.
"We can follow the rules just let us know what the rules are and the guidelines and we can follow them but we just need to be open," Kopeck said.
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