(ConservativePeak.com)- As states continue to loosen their coronavirus-related restrictions on business and life in general, many have wondered aloud how, and if, states would regulate those that don’t follow new guidelines.
In Texas, that question was answered swiftly recently. More than 12 bars throughout the state received a temporary suspension for their alcohol permits for violating health protocols put in place as the state re-opens.
The bars were located in eight cities in the state, including some of the biggest such as Houston, Dallas, Austin, El Paso and Fort Worth. Undercover investigations conducted by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission revealed the violations of the protocols that have been put in place to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
As Bentley Nettles, the executive director of the commission, said:
“Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority. We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions.”
Bars that are caught violating the rules can receive an initial 30-day suspension of their alcohol license. A second violation can result in a 60-day suspension.
TABC warned bars that it will pursue these emergency license suspensions if violations are deemed to be “a threat to public health and safety” during the COVID-19 pandemic. Officials with the agency said:
“All bars and restaurants operating in Texas have a duty to follow the checklists developed by the Governor’s Strike Force to Open Texas. These protocols are in place so that the Texas economy can function without a significant increase in COVID-19 cases.
“The agency understands this is a difficult time for the Texas economy and doesn’t want to shut any businesses down. We encourage bars and restaurants to follow the rules, operate responsibly and thereby protect the welfare of Texans and Texas in spite of COVID-19.”
Some of the limitations on bars and restaurants as Texas begins to allow these businesses to open are having no more than 50% of regular capacity allowed indoors for bars, and no more than 75% capacity indoors for restaurants. In addition, the establishments must make it so that groups of customers can easily maintain at least six feet of social distancing between other groups of customers.
Texas was one of the first states to begin re-opening. Back in April, Governor Greg Abbott announced a plan that would allow businesses to open in different waves, depending on the type of business. Each business was to have some restrictions in place to try to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
After at one point not having many confirmed cases of coronavirus, at least compared to the rest of the country, though, Texas is now seeing a serious surge as of late. The state has vaulted all the way up to having the fifth most confirmed cases in the United States, with almost 113,000 confirmed cases and almost 2,200 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
This has some regions of the state, such as Houston, at least considering re-implementing restrictions to slow the spread.