With no set opening date by Gov., some local bars reopening with new license

Local News

McALLEN, Texas — Throughout Texas —excluding the RGV, Victoria and Laredo — Governor Abbott announced businesses can increase their allowed capacity.

However, bars still do not have a set date to reopen. A local bar owner shares how she is managing with her business being closed for months.  

Cynthia McDonald owns McAllen’s Austin Street Bar, which would have recently celebrated its third anniversary. It was just starting to see a profit when the pandemic hit.  

“We just keep hoping we’ll be next to open, or at least a smaller capacity maybe not 100 percent,” McDonald said. ”It seems like business was doing really well right before the pandemic. There was a million lyft drivers dropping people off all night long and picking people up.” 

Since they cannot open in any capacity, the bar is months behind on rent and have had to furlough all employees. McDonald believes the bar can safely do what restaurants are doing — serve customers at limited occupancy.” 

“I think that at a lower occupancy we would like to reopen right away,” she said. “Especially for our demographic, which i would say is in our forties. We definitely need an outlet. “  

While many bars and venues in the downtown area remain closed, others are able to operate by serving food.  

“I think everyone like myself wants to get back out, but safety has to come first and foremost,” The Landmark Marketing Director Paul Magee said. 

An emergency rule set by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC)  allows bars to be considered restaurants by law if they meet a few qualifications and serve food from food trucks or outside vendors.  

The outdoor venue will have to limit entry to 250 people, and has strict plans for safety and distancing.  

“It’s 7500 square feet,” he said. “As soon as you come to the front door we do temperature checks. We do hand sanitizer. We don’t allow people to go to any of the bars to get the drinks. It’s pretty much VIP waiter/waitress service.” 

Landmark will soon find out about the license. They aim to open by early October. And while McDonald could apply for the same license, she does not want to go in that direction and continues to hope the next reopening phase will include her business. 

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