Following an order from Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, bars in Tarrant County will be allowed to reopen this week.
Tarrant County judge Glen Whitley announced the decision in a press conference on Monday, noting that he had conferred with Fort Worth mayor Betsy Price and health officials on his decision. According to Whitley and Price, bars will be allowed to reopen their doors at 50 percent capacity on Wednesday, October 13, and establishments that violate capacity limits are subject to fines. They’ll also be required to close at 11 p.m. daily.
“I feel like we can do this and remain safe,” Whitley said during the press conference.
That’s some bizarre confidence from Whitley, especially considering that videos depicting “restaurants” — AKA bars that have been allowed to operate as restaurants under a waiver issued by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission — packed with crowds of maskless people went viral over the weekend. Scope out this snippet of the madness, captured by WFAA reporter William Joy, below:
The public Snapchat video from FW’s Crockett Row area last night really has to be seen to be believed.— William Joy (@WilliamJoy) October 11, 2020
Reminder: Bars are closed currently, so under @TexasABC/@GovAbbott rules, these are from “restaurants”.
Understandable why public officials/biz owners are confused.
The decision to allow bars to reopen comes just after Tarrant County reported an 85 percent increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations over the past three weeks.
Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins announced last week that he would not reopen the county’s bars because the numbers were trending in the wrong direction, while Collin County plans to proceed with reopening this week.