‘I think it’s about time’: Bars, restaurants eager to get back to business as state lifts capacity limits, mask mandate

With several state COVID-19 restrictions ending in Texas on Wednesday, a Houston bar is planning to reopen for the first time in months.

HOUSTON – With several state COVID-19 restrictions ending in Texas on Wednesday, a Houston bar is planning to reopen for the first time in months.

The Shiloh Club on Studewood Street will welcome customers beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

“We want to make sure everybody’s safe, but at the same time we’re excited to be able to open,” said co-owner Anthony Shorrosh.

The bar has been closed for most of the past year, he said.

“Vaccinations are coming out,” Shorrosh said. “Employees are going to wear masks. We’ve learned enough how to take care of ourselves and I think it’s about time.”

Beginning Wednesday, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is lifting the state’s mask mandate and allowing any business to open at 100% capacity.

Some critics, including local leaders in the Houston area, have said it’s too soon.

“For them to say, ‘We don’t think it’s the right time,’ when is the right time?” Shorrosh asked.

The bar plans to provide sanitation stations and will require employees to wear masks, but customers can choose whether to cover their face, he said. Shorrosh said he will make masks available to customers who want one.

Businesses across the state will have to make similar decisions, including restaurants.

“We want to get back to business but we want to do it responsibly and we want to do it safe,” said Cameron James, president of the Greater Houston Restaurant Association.

Guidelines from the Texas Restaurant Association call for employees to wear masks while working, while customers are encouraged to wear masks. The guidelines also include cleaning procedures.

“We feel like we’re doing our due diligence to make it a safe environment for everybody,” James said.


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