Bars and restaurants re-examine ability to serve to-go alcoholic beverages under Gov. Abbott’s new mandate

Business

AUSTIN (KXAN) — It’s last call for many bars around Texas after Governor Greg Abbott’s executive order on Friday.

Bars and restaurants around Texas are allowed to serve alcoholic beverages through pickup and delivery services — as long as it aligns with the current Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s guidelines.

EXPLORE THE TEXAS ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE COMMISSION’S GUIDELINES HERE

At places like Kick Butt Coffee – spirits are on the menu too. 

Most of their alcohol sales were driven by large music performances, but that’s all changed since COVID-19. 

“We have a full bar, a full liquor bar and we always have had that, but that depends on a big punk show, that depends on 200 people being here drinking and an inch away.  That’s not going to be possible for a while,” said Thomas Gohring, founder/owner of Kick Butt Coffee.

If Gohring — or another bar owner — wants to sell alcohol to-go, here are a few guidelines from TABC:

Restaurants with a Mixed Beverage Permit (MB or RM)*

  • No need for a Food and Beverage Certificate (FB).
  • Alcohol must be in manufacturer-sealed container.
  • Alcohol must be accompanied by a food order.
  • Distilled spirits must be in containers no larger than 375 milliliters.

Kareem Hajjar represents bars and restaurants across Austin and the United States. He says bars and restaurants selling to-go alcoholic drinks are operating under what some bar owners call a “quarantine kit,” with strict guidelines from the TABC.

KXAN called 32 bars in the Austin area and most of them were closed, but some of the owners we spoke to said they don’t have enough supply for to-go cocktails and many times, the demand simply isn’t there.

It’s not just bars that are struggling during the pandemic.

Several local restaurants like ALC Steaks are voluntarily closing because of a surge of COVID-19 cases in Austin and the toll it is taking on employees.

“It has been incredibly difficult, and I am of the mind that mental health is just as important as physical health and I try to embrace that in our employees,” said Jordan Acevedo, General Manager of ALC Steaks.

ALC Steaks will pay its employees until they reopen July 7.

Other bar and restaurant employees might not be so lucky as their future once again, hangs in the balance.

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