AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) - Two bars in Dallas-Fort Worth and four in Houston temporarily lost their liquor licenses, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission announced Tuesday.
A weeklong effort by the TABC to enforce the state's COVID-19 health and safety protocols resulted in emergency orders to suspend the liquor licenses of the six businesses.
As part of Operation Safe Open, agents inspected businesses across Texas to ensure they're following state standards to slow the spread of the virus.
These requirements include indoor customer capacity limits of 50% for bars and 75% for restaurants, along with social distancing of at least six feet between groups of customers.
Agents conducted 1,344 inspections over the last week.
he businesses issued an emergency order for a 30-day permit suspension are:
Ampersand — Fort Worth (Bledsoe Street)
Lux Lounge — Houston
Sol Billares — Houston
The Whippersnapper — Dallas
The Standard — Houston
Spire — Houston
"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."
"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."
The TABC said it is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that threaten public health and safety.
TABC has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare.
The first infraction will result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in up to a 60-day suspension.
Management from Ampersand in Fort Worth sent CBS 11 the following statement:
"The health and safety of our guests is truly important to us. Our current protocol includes required temperature checks and masks for all employees and guests. Our tables are spaced 6 feet apart and we have multiple sanitizing stations. Social distancing is enforced. We have a professional cleaning crew that provides deep cleaning daily.
Our bar operations at our Bledsoe location will be temporarily be closed for the month, however both coffee locations will be operational. We will use this experience to improve our operations further as we navigate through the current challenges our industry and world are facing. Thank you to all our loyal customers."
The Governor's Strike Force to Open Texas has developed specific guidelines bars and restaurants must follow to safely restart their businesses.
To see the guidelines and learn more about the governor's efforts to reopen Texas, click here.
Find TABC's resources for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic and view a map of counties where bars can reopen here.
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