GALVESTON, Texas – Galveston County Judge Mark Henry will celebrate the reopening of bars with residents by hosting a happy hour at Buccaneer Bar at Railean Rum Distillery in San Leon on Oct. 14.
The event will be from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Judge Henry decided to pick Kelly and Matt Railean distillery because they are one of the thousands of small businesses impacted by the shutdown.
On Oct. 7, Abbott gave new orders, allowing Texas bars to reopen at 50% capacity if county the rate of hospitalizations is below 15%. Abbott said county judges have the option to opt into these openings provided they assist in enforcing health protocols.
Once Judge Henry reviewed the governor’s announcement, he said he would allow bars to reopen earlier than Oct. 14.
“I want to let small business owners know that I’ll be reopening bars immediately,” Henry wrote on Twitter Wednesday.
He indicated on Thursday that Galveston County law enforcement would not intervene if bars decided to open even earlier.
Judge Henry said that not only bar and nightclub owners were suffering during the closure period but so were service organizations.
In March, during the rise of the coronavirus, Henry opposed the idea of closing of restaurants and bars in the county, saying “I don’t believe I have any authority to close bars and restaurants.”
He also 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 has taken in the past.