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Many Galveston bars, restaurants flout city orders, operate on St. Patty’s Day

City of Galveston Plans to Act Unilaterally

GALVESTON, Texas – Most of Tuesday, bars and restaurants operated as normal on Galveston island and across the county — a stark contrast to what has happened in Harris County, where bars are closed and restaurants are banned from dine-in service.

“I don’t believe I have any authority to close bars and restaurants,” Galveston County Judge Mark Henry said earlier Tuesday.

Henry cited both Texas state law and the U.S. Constitution as his main reasons in declining to take the same action Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo took Monday.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Galveston city officials enacted two orders closing public amusement venues, including bars, and limiting restaurants to take-out, delivery and drive-thru services, following federal guidelines regarding coronavirus and public gatherings, according to a press release Tuesday afternoon.

The new order went into effect at 4 p.m. Tuesday.

“The second order limits restaurants to take-out, delivery and drive-thru only, effective 5 a.m. Wednesday, March 18, 2020. Hotel restaurants will still be able to serve guests only. The order also closes bars, effective at 4 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, 2020,” officials wrote.

Despite the orders, some bars and restaurants were still open for business Tuesday evening.