HARRIS COUNTY - Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo announced new restrictions for bars and restaurants that will remain in effect for the rest of March in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19.
The county has mandated that all bars and nightclubs will be closed until the end of March.
Restaurants are no longer allowed to offer dine-in services. The county says restaurants can only offer pick-up, drive-thru or delivery services through the end of the month.
Hidalgo says conferences, weddings, religious gatherings, festivals, parades and other types of assemblies should not be happening.
"We are making tough decisions in the best interest of the city of Houston," Mayor Sylvester Turner said. "We must take deliberative action to protect ourselves and our loved ones, and do everything possible to stop coronavirus from spreading."
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We spoke with bar owners in the area, and they tell us the news was hard to hear, but they knew it was coming.
It’s a tough blow for Grace Miller, who owns re:HAB on the Bayou. She has a staff of 8 people and hires 5-6 bands weekly. "To be closed for 15 days is devastating for a small business like this and any other small business."
Some bar owners like Vu Truong are grateful that they can remain partially open since their establishment is also a restaurant, it doesn’t mean that everyone on his staff will get to earn a paycheck. “It’s going to be on a voluntary basis of who needs to make money versus who can sustain a little bit longer.“ says Truong.
During a Monday news conference, Hidalgo pointed out the people attending large events despite warnings from local and federal experts against gathering in large groups.
The federal Coronavirus Task Force recommended that people keep their gatherings to 10 people or less.
Hidalgo also said the choices of citizens at this critical juncture will dictate whether people live or die.
Mayor Turner says this was not an easy decision to make since many jobs are affected by this.
re:HAB Bar on the Bayou