TABC’s ‘Operation Stay Safe’ Closed Down a Dozen Texas Bars Over the Weekend


Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden in Austin was one of 12 bars shut down by TABC over the weekend. - INSTAGRAM / BUFORDSAUSTIN
  • Instagram / bufordsaustin
  • Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden in Austin was one of 12 bars shut down by TABC over the weekend.
As of Sunday evening, one dozen Texas bars had their alcohol permits temporarily suspended for not following state-mandated health protocols meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

None of those bars were in San Antonio. Gold Star for us!

Under Gov. Gregg Abbott’s executive orders reopening the state's economy, bars were allowed to reopen at 50% capacity earlier this month. However, as cases of COVID-19 continued to emerge at record-breaking rates, the governor warned that the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission could crack down on bars that didn't fall in line with state health guidelines.

And crack down they did.

"Operation Safe Open," the TABC's three-day old effort to focus on public safety during the pandemic allows its officers to infiltrate Texas bars to ensure state-mandated policies are in place.

TABC officers who revoked alcohol permits over the weekend said all 12 night spots were sloppy with safety protocols, including not monitoring indoor capacity limits and enforcing social distancing measures for large groups of customers.

“Protecting the health and safety of Texans during this pandemic is our top priority,” TABC Executive Director Bentley Nettles said in a statement. “We warned businesses TABC will have no tolerance for breaking the rules, and now, some bars are paying the price. I hope other establishments will learn from these suspensions.”

The first violation under the enforcement program will result in up to a 30-day license suspension, and the second will result in a suspension of up to 60 days, according to TABC.

The list of shuttered bars includes:
  • BARge 25 (Seabrook)
  • Buford’s Backyard Beer Garden (Austin)
  • Coconuts (El Paso)
  • Elevate Night Club (McAllen)
  • Handlebar Houston (Houston)
  • Harris House of Heroes (Dallas)
  • Little Woodrow’s (Lubbock)
  • Marty’s Live (Dallas)
  • The New PR’s (Fort Worth)
  • UnBARlievable (West 6th) (Austin)
  • Werk Bar, (El Paso)
  • Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot Icehouse (Austin)
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