TABC to Continue Operation Safe Open This Weekend; Checking Bars/Restaurants for COVID-19 Safety Requirements
Previous effort found 17 violations among 600 businesses inspected
AUSTIN — Following an initial round of inspections that resulted in the permit suspensions for 17 bars and restaurants, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission this weekend will continue Operation Safe Open, a statewide effort to ensure bars and restaurants are complying with requirements to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Last weekend, TABC agents visited nearly 600 businesses.
The enforcement effort comes after a nearly six-week-long outreach effort by TABC to educate business owners about the state's health and safety requirements, which were enacted by Gov. Greg Abbott in early May. These requirements include indoor maximum capacity limits of 75% for restaurants and 50% for bars, as well as six-foot social distancing requirements between groups both indoors and outdoors. Businesses found in violation of these requirements face a 30-day suspension of their license to sell alcohol for the first offense.
"The fact that there were fewer than 20 violations found among 600 businesses inspected shows that bar and restaurant owners are taking their responsibilities seriously," TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said. "Our goal throughout Operation Safe Open is to encourage Texas businesses to operate safely, only those which put their customers' lives in danger will face penalties."
As part of this weekend's operation, TABC will work with local law enforcement and code enforcement officials to identify locations where violations may be taking place. The agency is also asking concerned citizens to report possible violations by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 1-888-THE-TABC, or by using the free TABC:Mobile application for Apple and Android devices.
"It will take all of us working together to reduce the spread of COVID-19," Nettles said. "Texas' bars and restaurants will play a critical role in growing our state's economy, and following the state's guidelines will allow them to fulfill this role while keeping their customers and employees safe."
For more information about requirements for bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit the Governor's Open Texas Strike Force webpage at www.open.texas.gov. For more information about TABC's efforts to assist businesses during the pandemic, visit tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Director of Communications and External Relations