Texas bars serving food can only reopen if alcohol accounts for less than 51% of total revenue

Texas

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — Texas restaurants can officially welcome back diners on Friday, May 1 at 25% capacity, and some bars with foodservice were hoping to open their doors, too.

But, Governor Greg Abbott’s phased plan only allows certain establishments to reopen, based partly on revenue.

Chris Porter with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission explained which businesses can now reopen, in addition nto restaurants.

“That includes among those restaurants, TABC-licensed businesses who sell alcohol, who for whom alcohol makes up less than 51% of their gross revenue,” Porter said.

Broken Spoke owner James White has been preparing to reopen his iconic Texas honky-tonk since the day businesses closed across the state.

“I’ve been out roughly about $200,000 and it’s just time to open. And I’m gonna do it to the safe way, though,” White said.

He had been taking precautions this week to open the doors of the Broken Spoke Friday, explaining the establishment is more than just a bar.

“We serve a lot of food at the broken spoke. My first day I opened up in 1964. I served 300 barbecue plates from our kitchen,” White said.

But, on Thursday, the TABC let him know the establishment could not reopen just yet, because its alcohol sales exceeded the 51% mark.

The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance said it is asking the Governor’s office to consider including establishments like the Broken Spoke in the current phase of reopening.

“Our 51% licenses that had a kitchen, that was a health department approved, and were you know, were open before the stay-at-home order to sell food. I don’t see a reason why they shouldn’t have been included in today’s you know, May 1, phase one opening,” TBNA president Michael Klein explained.

Klein explained the bars are not able to benefit from the alcohol to-go sales, either. That is also limited to restaurants.

Porter explained the TABC is only in charge of enforcing the rules, not making them. A change to the 51% rule would need to come from the Governor.

Porter said the businesses who do not follow the rules could face losing their alcohol license.

However, he said the establishments TABC has contacted recently with any issues have all complied, so far.

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