East Texas bars ready for governor’s signal to open

Updated: Sep. 14, 2020 at 5:29 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - On Aug. 13, Governor Abbott said bars could potentially reopen if the state went under a 10-percent testing positivity rate for a sustained amount of time.

According to the Department of Health Services, Texas dipped to a 9.64 percent rating on Sept. 1 and it has stayed under since. However, some say this statewide number isn’t an accurate representation for all local situations.

“It may be very low in some areas of the state, much more remote, much more rural, and still remain fairly elevated in more urban areas,” said Tom Cummins, the CMO of UT Health East Texas. “So, I think I would be looking at it more locally than statewide.”

However, some bar owners are focusing on that statewide number for the sake of their business and employees.

“The most difficult part was, I think we went 42 days before he actually acknowledged, Gov. Abbott actually acknowledged shutting bars down,” said Jeremy Nayfa, the owner of Rose City Drafthouse. “And just on the psyche, I gotta tell you that was really tough because it was like we didn’t exist.”

According to Nayfa, after reopening from the first shut down, business at Rose City Drafthouse was good. But the second time around? He said they no longer got any federal assistance on top of being out work.

“I, in fact, ended up doing a GoFundme page for my employees and was able to help raise some funds that way,” Nayfa said.

He says they were able to open a few weeks ago with an additional food and beverage permit, but that the situation at Rose City Drafthouse is better off than others.

“I just hope that everyone gets back open soon, it needs to happen,” Nayfa said.

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