TABC Working With VFW, Veterans' Service Groups To Ensure Local Halls Remain Open
Plan allows veterans’ groups to temporarily suspend alcohol sales so facilities can reopen.
AUSTIN – A new initiative by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission helps veterans’ service groups such as the Veterans of Foreign Wars and American Legion ensure their facilities can continue to provide critical services to military veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The move comes after concerns that numerous VFW halls and similar facilities, many of which contain bars, would be required to remain closed as part of Texas’ efforts to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus. The new plan, which was jointly developed by TABC, the VFW and state elected officials, provides multiple options for veterans’ services groups looking to reopen their doors:
- Temporarily suspend alcoholic beverage license/permit: Eligible veterans’ service organizations may contact TABC to temporarily suspend their alcoholic beverage license or permit without penalty. This enables the organization to reopen its facility, though no alcohol may be sold.
- Re-diagram licensed premises: The organization can alter their licensed premises to exclude common areas away from the facility’s bar. This enables the organization to reopen the unlicensed portions of its facility to provide services to veterans.
- Operate as a restaurant: The organization can apply for a TABC Food and Beverage Certificate, allowing them to operate as a restaurant by either using their own kitchen facilities or by partnering with a third-party food vendor. For this option, alcohol sales must comprise less than 51% of the location’s gross receipts.
TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles, an Army veteran, said the changes are part of an overall agency strategy to serve veterans.
“TABC is grateful for the support of the VFW and the governor as we begin the statewide rollout of this program,” he said. “Helping those who have served our country falls in line with TABC’s core value of customer service, and I appreciate any opportunity to support our veterans.”
Providing service to veterans is a personal mission for many TABC employees, according to agency Chairman Kevin Lilly.
“TABC is proud to count dozens of armed forces veterans as employees,” Lilly said. “For many of us, finding ways to assist our fellow veterans is part of daily life. This program exemplifies our agency’s dedication to supporting those who have served our nation.”
The program will greatly assist veterans’ organizations suffering under the COVID-19 pandemic, state Sen. Donna Campbell, M.D., said.
“Our state’s veteran service organizations play a critical role in assisting the men and women who worked selflessly to defend our freedom,” said Campbell, who chairs the Texas Senate’s Veterans Affairs & Border Security Committee. “This plan will allow groups such as the VFW and American Legion to continue providing these services, which are needed now more than ever. I thank the TABC for their efforts on this matter."
Veterans’ services organizations with questions on the program may contact their local TABC office for more information. To locate your nearest office or learn more, visit tabc.texas.gov.
Public Information Officer