East Texas bar, tavern owners cheer 50-percent reopen

East Texas bar and tavern owners cheer 50-percent reopen

TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - With Gov. Abbott announcing that all businesses in the state can open to 75-percent capacity and bars and taverns can open at 50 percent capacity, many are hoping to get closer to normal business volume once again.

In Longview, bars like Outlaws and Herb and Dees can get back to 50 percent customer volume. That’s something they have desperately needed to pay employees and their bills.

“It is good news. I am happy that bars are able to open. We have been open since August 31 with our food license. We’re open. We can make a living, feed our families,” said Outlaw’s owner Melissa Lynn Kelly.

Bars and taverns had been limited on openings and hours for months, and even closed for a period during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve struggled through this. Businesses have closed through this,” Kelly says.

“You’re affecting everybody’s livelihood. The bartenders ... this is how they make their living. This is how they support their families,” said Outlaws customer Charlene Bailey.

Kelly defied the governor’s initial shutdown order and opened anyway, with support from her customers.

“The government is to protect out rights, not to take our rights away. It’s up to me to protect my health, I’m an adult, all these people in here are adults,” said customer Trip Wingfield.

Curiously, the bars' reopening comes with a mandatory 11 p.m. cutoff for the selling of alcohol.

“That makes no sense. What’s the difference between 11 o’clock and midnight?” Bailey says.

They hope to recover their losses.

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