AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission suspended alcohol permits for seven bars over the weekend for refusing to comply with Gov. Greg Abbott’s executive order to close bars in an attempt to slow the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the state.
The Park at The Domain in Austin and Black Stone USA in Fredericksburg had their permits suspended for 30 days during TABC’s state sweep. The suspension begins on the date the order is signed by TABC — regardless of whether bars statewide are able to operate or not, TABC says.
On Friday, Gov. Abbott ordered all Texas bars with more than 51% of its sales from alcohol to close their doors on Friday, June 26. Those establishments were allowed to remain open for take-out and delivery.
TABC says its agents traveled to nearly 1,500 business across the state from June 26-28 to ensure bars were in compliance with Abbott’s order. TABC reports 59 bars were violating the order, and 52 agreed to stop operations after TABC’s visit.
The other seven bars did not agree to close and were issued 30-day suspensions of their permit.
- Black Stone USA DBA: The Stable, Fredericksburg.
- Bokeeters Cocktail Bar, New Caney
- Prospect Park, Houston
- The Park at The Domain, Austin
- The Venue Private Club, Wills Point
Two other permits were suspended June 26:
- Whiskey Girl, Abilene
- Outlaws Longview, Longview
Black Stone USA DBA: The Stable in Fredericksburg disputed the permit suspension in a statement to KXAN on Monday. The establishment says it is contesting the suspension and is not shutting down, claiming it “serves over 51% in food sales and has for months.” They also report showing information to officers to prove the claim.
Stable Owner Claire Koch said in the statement: “As a citizen and business owner we need to be able to read and rely on the Governor’s word. Somehow the Governor’s words are not being obeyed and the translation by enforcement is heavy handed and uneven. We are asking, pleading, for some compassion and commonsense in this enforcement.”
Meanwhile, the Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance says it is planning to sue the State of Texas over Abbott’s recent order.
In an email to members, TBNA described the governor’s decision to once again close bars as “irresponsible and shameful” and urged bar owners to violate the order by remaining open.
“We know this is an extremely difficult time for our state’s bar owners and we sympathize with all of the owners, operators and employees who are hurting during this pandemic,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said in the TABC release on permit suspensions. “It’s the duty of all Texans to do what’s necessary to prevent the spread of this disease. Taking these steps now will help ensure a quicker re-opening once this pandemic has passed.”
Texans can report a potential violation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 888-THE-TABC, or using the free TABC mobile app.