Bars and restaurants prepare for UT football season

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) —  Now that college students are back and football season is kicking off, bars in downtown Austin are preparing for larger crowds. 

A spokesperson with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission told KXAN the agency has only issued one warning to an Austin-area business since changing reopening rules for bars late last month.   

There have been no suspensions of bars or restaurants since Aug. 26, when the rule went into effect, according to the TABC spokesperson.

In June, the Governor mandated a 50% occupancy limit at bars and restaurants. The TABC has conducted 16,000 inspections since then to make sure establishments were in compliance. The agency will continue those compliance checks at bars and restaurants across the state throughout the pandemic. 

When KXAN asked the City of Austin for the number of 311 calls/complaints made about restaurants and bars that were overcrowded or not following COVID capacity protocols since March, we received a month-by-month breakdown of the complaints: 

July
Over Occupancy or Social Distancing in Bars 35 
Reporting bars that are open 28 
Over Occupancy or Social Distancing in Restaurants 50 
August  
Over Occupancy or Social Distancing in Bars 70 
Reporting bars that are open 
Over Occupancy or Social Distancing in Restaurants 51 
September  
Reporting bars that are open 
Over Occupancy or Social Distancing in Restaurants 15 

With more people venturing out to bars and restaurants in downtown Austin, owners are using signage and reservations to enforce state rules. 


This football season, Scholz Garten is launching SafeGarten for all UT Football games.  

“Instead of having the big crowds we’ve had in the past, we are reserving tables and making sure people are sitting six feet apart and people are wearing their masks when they walk around,” said Dan Smith, owner of Scholz Garten. 

Starting with the first home game on Saturday, Scholz will welcome parties of 4-8 to SafeGarten for indoor and outdoor table reservations. Games will be broadcast throughout both spaces. Reservations are also required.  

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