LONGVIEW, Texas (KETK) – Texas bars have been losing money for months after Governor Abbott ordered them to shut down back in May. Their only hope of re-opening is getting a permit to sell food.
“I’m extremely sympathetic to their cause,” Governor Abbott said. “They have bills to pay, they have rent or mortgages to pay, they have to put food on the table and they don’t have a paycheck that they once had.”
Rewinding to three months ago, Governor Abbott ordered the closure of most businesses.
Today restaurants, retailers, salons, and gyms are opened.
It’s bars that remain closed.
Bar owners feel singled out because of it.
“I don’t think Covid-19 just attracts itself to places that sell more than 51% alcohol,” Melissa Lynn Kelly, Outlaws Longview Bar owner, said.
Now people like Kelly are having to transform their business into a restaurant, using a loophole to open back up.
“I have to pay my bills so that means I have to open,” Kelly said.
Bar owners first need a food and beverage certificate from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission to start selling food.
The TABC already has more than 600 applications from Texas bar owners including one from Kelly.
However, her application was denied this week.
Governor Abbott on Thursday backed his decision to keep bars closed.
“After you’ve had several drinks some people become fairly intoxicated and less likely to use the discipline needed to stop the spread of the coronavirus.”
That decision has divided support.