TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - After Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission spoke to the 30 bars that remained open Friday in defiance of Gov. Greg Abbott’s recent executive order, all but two of those establishments agreed to shut their doors. Outlaws in Longview was one of the two that chose to remain open.
Melissa Lynn Kelly, the owner of Outlaws in Longview, said that TABC agents came to her bar last night and told her to shut down. After she told them no, the TABC agents returned Saturday afternoon with a slip that said her liquor license will be suspended for 30 days.
Kelly told East Texas News that she didn’t sign the slip and that she is now looking for an attorney. She also started a Go Fund Me page.
According to a press release, TABC agents found that a “vast majority of Texas bars” were abiding by the new rules.
“We want to thank bar owners across the state who are making great sacrifices to protect their fellow Texans,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said in the press release. “We know bar and restaurant owners have been suffering mightily throughout this pandemic. By taking these extraordinary steps to limit capacity and close doors, lives will be saved and we can increase the chances of successfully reopening businesses in the future.”
On Friday night, TABC agents visited 628 bars across Texas. They found that only 30 of them were open in violation of the governor’s executive order, and after TABC agents spoke to the management of those bars, 28 agreed to shut their doors, the press release stated.
Two bars, Outlaws in Longview and The Whiskey Girl in Abilene chose to remain open, the press release stated. As a result, the TABC issued emergency orders to suspend those businesses’ liquor licenses for 30 days.
“TABC is committed to protecting Texans and will pursue emergency license suspensions if there are violations that are a threat to public health and safety,” the press release stated. “The agency has the authority to suspend any license that poses a continuing threat to public welfare. The first infraction will result in a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in a 60-day suspension.”
The state agency is also asking concerned citizens to report possible violations by sending e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org, calling 1-888-THE-TABC, or by using the free TABC mobile app for Apple and Android devices.
“For more information about requirements for bars and restaurants to reduce the spread of COVID-19, visit the Governor’s Open Texas Strike Force webpage at www.open.texas.gov,” the press release stated. “For more information about TABC’s efforts to assist businesses during the pandemic, visit www.tabc.texas.gov/coronavirus.”