Just one day after a countywide mandate by Judge Glen Whitley required face masks to be worn at all Tarrant County businesses, Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive order June 26 rolling back a number of aspects of the state’s phased reopening.
The order requires the closure of all bars in the state by noon on June 26, and restaurant capacity is once again limited to 50% beginning at 12:01 a.m. on June 29.
“At this time, it is clear that the rise in cases is largely driven by certain types of activities, including Texans congregating in bars. The actions in this executive order are essential to our mission to swiftly contain this virus and protect public health,” Abbott said in a June 26 news release.
Some establishments, such as Chopshop Live in Roanoke, were quick to react. Considered a bar due to having alcoholic beverages as more than 51% of sales, among other factors, the bar and music venue announced on social media it would adhere to the governor’s order.
“We will have to close again effective immediately,” the announcement said. “Shows are cancelled for now until we know something different ... the entire property is closed for now.”
Already closed for months due to previous coronavirus-related restrictions, Chopshop was set to reopen June 26 with a live music performance at 7 p.m. According to the announcement, tickets for the now canceled show will be refunded. The venue plans to address future performances based on updates provided by state officials.
“I suspected something would come but didn’t know exactly what,” Roanoke Mayor Scooter Gierisch said. “It’s going to have an effect. A number of our establishments here in town are part of that 51% bar rule.”
Considered a wine and beer retailer by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, Keller business What’s On Tap is able to remain open at 50% capacity, staff member Matt Head said.
The business will continue to provide to-go options and maintain social distancing in-store until further direction is provided by the county or the state, he said.
“We’re trying to understand the guidelines as best we can right now,” Head said.
Estimates from the Texas Restaurant Association indicate approximately 700,000 restaurant industry jobs have been lost since mid-March as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
A reintroduction of restrictions, such as capacity limitations and face mask requirements, will only continue to exacerbate the problem, Gierisch said. In the meantime, city officials are continuing to provide support to the business community, he said.
“We sent word to the business community that something was likely coming down the pipeline,” he said. “And we suspect, based on Tarrant County’s [action] with the mask rule, Denton County will follow suit on Tuesday.”