Tarrant County bars may reopen Oct. 14

Published on October 13, 2020

After being shut down in June, Tarrant County bars can reopen on Oct. 14 under certain conditions.

Gov. Greg Abbott issued an executive orderPDF File to open bars and similar establishments at up to 50% capacity in conjunction with county officials. In hospital regions with low COVID-19 hospitalization rates, county judges may opt their county into opening bars, provided they assist in enforcing health protocols.

Tarrant County Judge Glen Whitley announced Monday he will open bars at 50% capacity. From the pandemic’s beginning, Tarrant County’s goal has been to keep hospitals open. Tarrant County hospital CEOs feel this can happen, the judge said in a statement.

“After talking with mayors, bar owners, hospital CEOs and other stakeholders, I believe we can safely reopen at 50%,” Whitley said. “It is important we reopen the economy as quickly as possible, but we must do so in a safe manner.”

Whitley said it is important that Tarrant County residents remain vigilant and continue to wear masks and social distance. If bars don’t follow the state guidelines, they will be shut down again.

“If flagrant violations of the occupancy requirements are ignored or COVID-19 cases make up more than 15% of our Tarrant County hospital capacity, I won’t hesitate to close bars,” Whitley said.

Residents who witness establishments breaking guidelines can submit a tip to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) by email or by calling 1-888-THE-TABC.

The governor’s executive order also increases the occupancy levels for all business establishments other than bars to 75%.

“Even as more businesses have opened and students return to school, Texans have shown we can contain the spread of COVID-19,” Abbott said. “Thanks to Texans following the best health practices, our state is prepared for additional openings, including bars. Opening bars does not mean that COVID-19 is no longer a threat, and most Texans are still susceptible to the virus. As bars and similar businesses begin to open, we all must remain vigilant and show personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our loved ones.”

View a video in which Abbott encourages Texans to continue following best practices to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.