HOUSTON - Emergency orders were issued to suspend the liquor licenses of four Houston businesses following a weeklong effort by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to enforce the state’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
TABC agents inspected bars across Texas last week as part of Operation Safe Open. Bars are required to limit indoor customer capacity to 50%, and restaurants must limit indoor capacity to 75%. Social distancing of at least six feet between groups of customers is also required.
The Houston businesses that were issued emergency orders for a 30-day permit suspension include Lux Lounge, The Standard, Spire and Sol Billares. Ampersand on Bledsoe Street in Fort Worth and The Whippersnapper in Dallas were also issued 30-day permit suspensions.
“These violations represent a very small number of the more than 20,000 licensed businesses inspected by TABC since the beginning of May,” TABC Chairman Kevin J. Lilly said. “A large majority of business owners are showing their commitment to keeping customers and employees safe, and we’re grateful for all of their hard work. TABC is committed to assisting the industry as we all work for a safe Texas.”
The TABC says they are “monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that threaten public health and safety”. The first infraction may result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second may result in up to a 60-day suspension.
“Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. “I’m incredibly proud of all the TABC employees working to ensure Texas bars and restaurants are able to operate safely. Our goal from the start has been to educate business owners about the requirements of the governor’s executive orders, and our Enforcement, Legal and Communications teams have done outstanding work to keep the industry and the public informed on how to stay safe while helping to reopen the Texas economy.”