Houston News : Alcohol permits suspended at two Houston-area bars for violating COVID-19 requirements

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Jeff Schafer, general manager at Barge 295, hangs a sail that was blown loose during a thunderstorm Monday, June 22, 2020, at Barge 295 in Seabrook. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over the weekend suspended alcohol permits at a dozen bars, including two in the Houston area, as part of a statewide crackdown to enforce Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 business restrictions. Barge 295 was issued a 30-day permit suspension for not implementing proper protocols to slow the spread of the virus. less
Jeff Schafer, general manager at Barge 295, hangs a sail that was blown loose during a thunderstorm Monday, June 22, 2020, at Barge 295 in Seabrook. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over the weekend … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Staff Photographer

Photo: Jon Shapley, Staff Photographer

Jeff Schafer, general manager at Barge 295, hangs a sail that was blown loose during a thunderstorm Monday, June 22, 2020, at Barge 295 in Seabrook. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over the weekend suspended alcohol permits at a dozen bars, including two in the Houston area, as part of a statewide crackdown to enforce Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 business restrictions. Barge 295 was issued a 30-day permit suspension for not implementing proper protocols to slow the spread of the virus. less
Jeff Schafer, general manager at Barge 295, hangs a sail that was blown loose during a thunderstorm Monday, June 22, 2020, at Barge 295 in Seabrook. The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over the weekend … more

Photo: Jon Shapley, Staff Photographer

Alcohol permits suspended at two Houston-area bars for violating COVID-19 requirements

The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission over the weekend suspended alcohol permits at a dozen bars, including two in the Houston area, as part of a statewide crackdown to enforcement Gov. Greg Abbott’s COVID-19 business restrictions.

Handlebar Houston and Barge 295 in Seabrook were issued 30-day permit suspensions for not implementing proper protocols to slow the spread of the virus, the agency announced Sunday. Abbott has required bars to remain at 50 percent capacity and restaurants at 75 percent as part of the state’s COVID-19 response. The businesses also must ensure proper social distancing of at least 6 feet between groups.

The suspensions come as cities across Texas record growing numbers of COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations. The state has averaged 3,027 new cases per day over the last week, up from 1,777 the previous week. Hospitalizations in the Houston region have more than doubled since Memorial Day.

“Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said in the announcement. “We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions.”

The undercover investigation, dubbed Operation Safe Open, kicked off this weekend. In addition to the Houston-area bars, agents found evidence to suspend the alcohol permits at three bars in Austin,  two in Dallas, two in El Paso, one in McAllen and one in Lubbock.

Some of Texas’ largest counties — including Harris, Dallas and Bexar — recently have ordered businesses to require customers to wear masks. Judge Lina Hidalgo’s order goes into effect Monday.

Dylan McGuinness contributed to this report. 

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Source : chron.com