HOUSTON – The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) temporarily suspended the permits of 12 bars in Texas, including a popular Houston bar, as the agency continues to crack down on establishments that are not complying with Gov. Greg Abbott’s reopening guidelines.
HandleBar Houston on Washington Avenue was among the seven bars whose permits were suspended Sunday when they were found in violation of orders during an undercover investigation by TABC, officials said. The other bar in the Houston area to face a penalty is BARge 295 in Seabrook, Texas.
“Operation Safe Open is an effort by TABC agents to inspect businesses across Texas to ensure they’re following protocols to slow the spread of COVID-19,” officials wrote. “These requirements include indoor customer capacity limits of 50% for bars and 75% for restaurants, along with social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups of customers.”
All the bars will face a 30-day permit suspension, officials wrote.
“TABC is strictly monitoring bar and restaurant activity and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that are a threat to public health and safety,” officials wrote. “TABC has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to the public welfare. The first infraction will result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in up to a 60-day suspension.”
Abbott and other local officials have blamed young people in Texas for going to bars and not complying with health guidelines as Texas and the Houston area are starting to see spikes in new COVID-19 cases among people under 30. KPRC 2 examined the data after Memorial Day and discovered that these claims were indeed true and there were more young people with infections than before.
These are the bars that have had licenses suspended in this operation are:
- Werk Bar, El Paso
- Marty’s Live, Dallas
- Elevate Night Club, McAllen
- Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden, Austin
- Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse, Austin
- Handlebar Houston, Houston
- BARge 295, Seabrook
- Harris House of Heroes, Dallas
- The New PR’s, Fort Worth
- UnBARlievable (West 6th), Austin
- Little Woodrow’s, Lubbock
- Coconuts, El Paso