TABC spokesperson explains recent bar and restaurant suspensions

A spokesperson from Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) is explaining recent suspensions issued for a dozen Texas bars/restaurants.

According to TABC spokesperson Chris Porter, they spent the last month educating businesses and customers with warnings. After several weeks, they’re now issuing 30-day alcohol sale restrictions to businesses that ignore Texas COVID-19 regulations.

According to state rules, bars currently are only allowed to open at half capacity. Also, individuals and groups must maintain proper social distancing of 6 feet.

“We’re now moving ahead with 30-day temporary restrictions with their permits to sell alcohol if we observe any violations with things such as social distancing or capacity limits,” said Porter.

According to Porter, they investigated roughly 600 Texas businesses for COVID-19 social distancing related complaints over the weekend. Of those, 12 received the 30-day temporary alcohol restriction.

“We’re using tools such as social media, law enforcement, and citizen complaints to determine where we’re needed most,” said Porter.

Handlebar Houston, off Washington Avenue, was issued the alcohol suspension.

MORE: Handlebar Houston alcohol permit suspended for violating state reopening orders

According to the TABC order, Handlebar “operated in excess of its 50% total occupancy limit.”

In addition, Barge 295 in Seabrook received the violation for failing to “maintain safe distancing between individuals”.

“They have every right to appeal any determination that we make,” said Porter. “The bottom line here is ensuring the safety of Texans.”

Barge 295 fired back on Facebook, writing “Business Lives Matter” in a recent post. Later they explain, “We have not been shut down. We have been issued a temporary liquor license suspension.  Which we will fight. Our establishment and kitchen is still open.”

Handlebar Houston hasn’t returned phone calls, emails, or posted on social media since the TABC issued the suspension.

The owner at Barge 295 says they intend to follow the order, while their attorney begins the appeal process.

“We visited approximately 600 businesses over the weekend,” said Porter. “We believe a lot of people are doing what they need to do, it’s a small proportion that have found to be in violation. The goal here is to allow these bars and restaurants to operate safely.”