LUBBOCK, Texas — Under Governor Abbott’s executive order, bars must make less than 51 percent of sales from alcohol and serve food in order to stay open, leaving some bars to try and convert to restaurants.
According to the Texas Alcohol and Beverage Commission, around 700 bars across Texas have already applied in order to qualify their businesses as a restaurant.
But for places like Crawdaddy’s Sports Grill and Bar, while they serve food, most of their sales came from alcohol, meaning they were forced to close and are now hurting badly.
“Everyday we come in we are going negative,” said Felenia Burge, owner of Crawdaddy’s Sports Bar and Grill. “I’ve had no income coming in for the past couple of months so that’s affected me personally, I’m struggling, my employees are struggling.”
But bars are now allowed to apply to be reclassified as a restaurant with the TABC, only as long as a majority of their sales no longer come from alcohol. If a bar is approved, then they must follow all restaurant guidelines to open
“They can have 50 percent of a full load of indoor customers. Outdoors there is no capacity limit but whether you are indoors or outdoors there must be a 6 foot social distance,” said Chris Porter, Public Information Officer for TABC.
But Porter believes that the switch from bar to restaurant may not be too difficult for some businesses.
“There are ways of partnering with food trucks or getting the food service with your business. We are doing our best to work with every business to make sure we are able to get them operating,” said Porter.
But the TABC is trying to help keep as many businesses open as they can.
“For bar owners in particular as well as anyone in the entire alcoholic beverage industry it’s an extremely difficult time for our industry as well as others across the state. What we want to make sure is that the steps we are taking are a step in the right direction,” said Porter. “But obviously we are all going to have to work together.”
But for Burge, she just hopes she doesnt’ have to close forever.
“I pray for everyone going through this hard time. It’s not just bars but families have lost loved ones and you know I pray for America right now.” said Burge.
According to TABC around 24 businesses in Lubbock applied to be reclassified as restaurants. Over the weekend, TABC was in Lubbock to check that bars were complying with regulations.
30 bars were visited and none received citations, according to TABC.