TBNA encourages Texas bars to host ‘soft’ reopenings May 15

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AUSTIN (Nexstar) — The Texas Bar and Nightclub Alliance is encouraging bars in Texas to host “soft” reopenings on Friday, May 15.

TBNA president Michael Klein said the soft reopening will not encourage bars to open their doors to the public. It’s meant as an act of solidarity for the bars, which have not yet been included in Governor Greg Abbott’s plans to reopen the economy.

“This opening will not include patrons or the general public, but businesses will remove all boards from windows, turn on lights and music and have employees on-staff to enjoy a DJ or live music,” Klein said in a statement Friday, May 8.

Klein said the TBNA sent a letter to the Governor’s office earlier this week, outlining steps for safe reopening of 51% licenses, which are businesses pulling in 51% of their revenue or more from alcohol sales.

“Our businesses, which have been closed without any source of revenue, can no longer sustain complete closure,” Klein said.

The guidelines include maintaining occupancy in accordance with CDC recommendations and aligning with state restaurant rules, installing tables and chairs to eliminate open areas, hiring additional door staff to ensure social distancing guidelines and implementing single-use plastic cups and paper plates.

In addition, the bars will be following standard safety practices, including requiring employees to wear masks and encouraging the public to do the same.

“This soft reopening is a first step in exerting our constitutional rights as tax-paying citizens in the great state of Texas,” Klein said.

So far, the Governor’s office has not yet issued an official response to TBNA’s letter.

In addition to the soft reopening, TBNA is setting a date to hopefully reopen officially beginning on May 18 at 50% capacity, in accordance with guidelines for restaurants and other businesses across the state.

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