TABC offering bars, breweries a chance to reclassify and reopen

Some Lubbock bars, breweries plan to apply, reopen as part of TABC’s industry notice

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s been about six weeks since Governor Greg Abbott ordered bars across the state to close their doors, to try and slow the spread of COVID-19.

Last week, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) said that businesses could update their gross receipts calculation and provide dine-in services to the public by filling out the alcohol sales reporting affidavit or applying for a food and beverage certificate.

The affidavit is for businesses that have been operating at less than 51 percent of alcohol sales.

Businesses can apply for the Food and Beverage Certificate if they change or plan to change their business model to incorporate permanent food service facilities.

KCBD talked to the owner of Jake’s Sports Café, Scott Stephenson, about the closure of bars across the state back in late July. Stephenson and other owners were shocked and worried by the sudden closure.

Stephenson said he applied for a Food and Beverage Certificate on Wednesday, so Jake’s could reopen.

“We’ve always served a lot of food, but our percentage is not quite high enough to get out of this category that the governor has mandated,” Stephenson said. “We’re applying for food and beverage, and then we’re going to be changing the way that we do our business.”

Stephenson said some of the changes customers will see at Jake’s include a new menu and the business will now be non-smoking.

“It’s a new lease on a chance to be operating and to be able to pay our bills,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson said the application takes anywhere from two to four weeks to be approved, and he hopes Jake’s can be open by the end of the month.

Also included in the Industry Notice from the TABC, Wineries, and Breweries.

“The notice had some stipulations for production to your facility so breweries, wineries... That allowed us to reopen and kind of recalculate our percentages based on some other factors like food truck sales that we have contracted out.,” said General Manager and Co-Owner of Two Docs Brewing Company, Eric Washington.

Two Docs reopened Wednesday evening and said they’re making sure everyone is practicing safety guidelines to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We have the hand sanitizer stations. We have the masks already. Our tables already spread out more than six feet apart on a patio. Everything was pretty much in place for that,” Washington said. “We’ve been just kind of ready to go because we knew we were able to be in compliance with all the requirements as far as social distancing and safety goes, we already had those in place.”

The Industry Notice says that these reopenings do not allow businesses to ignore the executive order(s).

Washington said, “We would like to keep pushing and let everybody know that this doesn’t necessarily let every bar open back up. We still strongly believe that every establishment should be judged by the marriage of safety, not by the product they sell. So we’re still going to continue to push the governor’s office to tweak the order or change it to allow people to open if they’re able to do so safely, regardless of what product they sell.”

To view TABC’s industry notice, click here.

To find more information about COVID-19 restrictions on TABC’s website, click here.

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