Restaurants Can Open at 50% Capacity, Bars at 25% On May 22
Today, Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced that restaurants can begin operating dining rooms at 50-percent capacity and that bars can open at 25-percent capacity on Friday, May 22. The announcement has been eagerly awaited by many independent restaurant and bar owners who are struggling with reduced or no revenue, and few avenues for financial help. It also comes following a week when Texas saw its highest daily COVID-19 deaths and new case totals — the latter partly due to an increase in daily tests.
Previously, on April 27, Abbott announced that restaurants could open for dine-in service at 25-percent capacity starting May 1, as long as owners implemented a detailed set of new safety guidelines. These guidelines are still in place as restaurants transition to increased dining-room seating capacity. In addition, on May 5, Abbott clarified that restaurant patios and other outdoor spaces can operate at normal capacity, but tables must be at least six feet apart, in accordance with social distancing recommendations.
Bars will also have to follow detailed safety protocols, which include the physical bar being blocked and bar stools removed or also blocked, only providing service to patrons who are seated at tables that are at least six feet apart, no more than six customers per table and having a hand sanitizing station available at the entrance.
For more details about Texas’s reopening plans, go here.
This is a developing story and will be updated.