In an open letter to the state’s alcoholic beverage industry, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission Executive Director Bentley Nettles warned bar owners that the agency would suspend the licenses and shut down the bars that remain open in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s shutdown order.
“The governor’s executive order is the current law of the state, and TABC will enforce it, as will other state and local government entities,” wrote Nettles. “When a business tells TABC it doesn’t intend to follow these orders, you leave the agency with no option but to revoke your license and shut you down.”
Abbot’s executive order, which went into effect in late June, shut down the state’s bars and other businesses that derive 51% or more of their revenue from the sale of alcohol for on-premise consumption. Before Abbot’s order, bars had been able to operate at 50 percent capacity.
“While progress has been made, many challenges remain,” wrote Nettles. “The biggest challenge I see lies with industry members who choose to operate in violation of the governor’s executive order.”
Since the order went into effect, several of the state’s bars that have remained open in defiance of the shutdown order have had their alcohol permits suspended.
Nettles wrote that the agency has worked with stakeholders to develop guidance that allows some businesses to qualify as restaurants under Abbot’s executive order.
“I believe the vast majority of TABC’s license and permit holders are acting in good faith, trying to run honest businesses, and are valued members of their communities,” wrote Nettles. “I call on all businesses to act in this manner. TABC will gladly work with you if you are working toward voluntary compliance. If you have questions about whether you can reopen safely, please contact us.”
TABC said that Texans can report a potential violation by emailing email@example.com, calling 888-THE-TABC, or using the free TABC: Mobile app for Apple and Android devices. To view TABC’s guidance for the alcoholic beverage industry, visit www.tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus.
Read the letter in its entirety below.