Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced that, for the first time since June, bars across the state would be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity — with a couple of major caveats. Under Abbott’s latest executive order, COVID-19 hospitalizations must account for less than 15 percent of hospital capacity, and perhaps most importantly, the county judge in each county must file an application with the TABC for reopening to happen.
While Dallas County bars will stay closed for now, at least a few DFW counties have decided to charge forward with reopening. Scope out the guide below for full details on bar reopening in counties across the metroplex.
In a statement shortly after Abbott’s announcement, Dallas County judge Clay Jenkins said that he would not make that move right now because the county’s positivity rate was still too high.
In a September interview with Eater, Jenkins outlined his concerns about bar reopening. “The socialization when you’re at a bar is a problem. You tend to move around a little bit more, people are more gregarious and more careless with masking,” he said. “It’s pretty hard to drink through a straw with a mask on, period. If we open up the bars too quickly, that would be something that could really hurt our other businesses.”
In a press conference on Monday, Tarrant County judge Glen Whitley announced that he would allow bars in the county to reopen at 50 percent capacity on Wednesday, October 13. Under Abbott’s order, though, Tarrant County bars will be required to stop serving alcohol at 11 p.m. According to Whitley, bars that. don’t follow the 50 percent capacity guidelines are subject to fines.
The decision to open came amid an increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations in the county, and days after videos from bars in Fort Worth’s West 7th District, featuring crowds of maskless people, went viral on social media.
Collin County judge Chris Hill announced last week that he would “file the necessary paperwork” with the TABC so that the county’s bars could reopen on Wednesday, October 13. “At no time this year has our hospital capacity been overwhelmed or threatened by COVID-19,” Hill said in a statement posted to Twitter. “Quite simply, Collin County should be completely open. I will listen to everyone, but will follow the science.”
On October 9, Denton County judge Andy Eads announced that he had filed paperwork to reopen bars in Frisco, Denton, and other Denton County municipalities. “Denton County has continued to do a great job with our cases down compared to other urbanized areas in North Texas,” Eads said. “We feel for the financial pain these businesses have gone through and we fully support their reopening.”
On October 9, Judge David Sweet announced in a Facebook post that he had submitted the application to the TABC to reopen Rockwall County bars on October 13.
When reached via phone, Parker County judge Pat Deen told Eater that he had just completed the application to reopen bars in the county after consulting with local health officials.