Some restaurants with bars not allowed to re-open

Posted at 9:27 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 23:54:07-04

After the stay-at-home order was lifted on Friday, many businesses and restaurants reopened at limited capacity. However, some were quickly shut down by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.

One of the businesses impacted was the Nueces Brewing Company, a business that’s typically known for its craft beers brewed in-house, but has recently been known for their crowlers and barbecue to-go.

"Because of this, the coronavirus and some of the things that are happening, we decided last-minute to start selling food,” said co-owner Brandon Harper.

Harper said Tuesday afternoon he got a call from a TABC employee, who said the business must close its dining room because the business is considered a bar, and its alcohol sales were more than 51 percent before the pandemic hit.

"Everyone who has that 51 percent guideline, they report their numbers to the Texas Comptroller,” said TABC employee Chris Porter. “Those numbers are given to us every few years when we review their alcoholic-beverage permit. And so that's the information that we have to go on."

According to social media, The Post at Lamar Park also was shut down by the TABC for dine-in service.

Harper said that if his business didn’t comply with the TABC’s rules and remained open, it risked losing its alcohol license. But Harper argues the brewery has been selling more food than alcohol recently, and said the brewery has 5,000 sq. ft. of space, which he said makes for plenty of room to social distance.

“From our point of view, we're more of a restaurant than a bar,” said Harper. “We're family-friendly. Kids are allowed to come here. It's not a place where people sit and get drunk. It's a place where people come by have a couple beers, have some barbecue and go home."

Meanwhile, Harper just hopes it’s not long before all businesses can reopen. Gov. Greg Abbott has not said when bars or businesses like it can reopen.

"There's no time for the details,” said Harper. “We're all just trying to stay alive. Like, no one's trying to get rich -- we're trying to pay our employees and keep the lights on."