Williamson County bars can open on Oct. 14

County Judge's action allows bars to open at 50 percent capacity while following COVID-19 health protocols

Starting Wednesday, Oct. 14, Williamson County bars and similar establishments may offer on-premises services at up to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the establishment while observing State of Texas minimum standard health protocols. View the minimum standard health protocols for bars or similar establishments here.

On Oct. 7, Gov. Greg Abbott issued Executive Order GA-32 to open bars and similar establishments in qualifying counties in Texas if the area does not have high hospitalizations and if the county judge signs an opt-in form to allow it. Williamson County Judge Bill Gravell signed and submitted his opt-in form to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commissioner on Oct. 8, so that more Williamson County businesses can be open to serve the public.

“Williamson County residents have shown that they can follow guidelines established to stop the spread of COVID-19 and get back to business,” County Judge Bill Gravell said. “Not business as usual, but business that is conducted following the protocols determined by health professionals to keep everyone safe. We need all of our businesses to be open and operate safely so that everyone has the opportunity to work and support their families.”

Some of the health protocols include that patrons at bars or similar establishments may eat or drink only while seated, except that in an establishment that holds a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission as a brewer, distiller/rectifier, or winery, customers may sample beverages while standing so long as they are in a group of six people or fewer and there is at least six feet of social distancing or engineering controls, such as partitions, between groups.

Where applicable, this 50 percent occupancy limit applies only indoors; the limit does not apply to outdoor areas, events, or establishments, although social distancing and other protocols must be followed.

In providing or obtaining services, every person should use good-faith efforts and available resources to follow the minimum standard health protocols recommended by the Department of State Health Services (DSHS). Nothing in the Governor’s Executive Order GA-32 or the DSHS minimum standards precludes requiring a customer to follow additional hygiene measures when obtaining services.

Travis County bars will remain closed for now, according to an Oct. 14 announcement from Travis County Judge Sam Biscoe.

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