Disclaimer: 2020 has been quite a year of uncertainty for everyone, especially for the entertainment industry. It seems like the rules are constantly changing, and we understand that it’s hard to keep up. At LaBarba Permit Service, we are dedicated to offering you the most up-to-date, helpful information in order for your establishment to become TABC licensed and remain TABC compliant. The information written in this article was accurate at the time of writing. If you have questions or would like to discuss how things have changed in recent weeks, just give us a call. One of our team members will be happy to talk through your questions, and perhaps make just a part of 2020 a bit less stressful. Take advantage of having a consultant help you navigate some uncharted waters. We look forward to serving you, so you can continue to serve others.
At LaBarba Permit Service, we’ve heard from local establishments concerned about the status of their business’ future, the broader economic outlook and their ability to navigate a turnaround after the mandatory business shutdowns due to coronavirus. Although we cannot predict the future, we want to help offer your business some help, in order to continue to operate when possible, according to new guidelines and state mandates.
In June, TABC warned that it would suspend licenses for businesses who did not follow COVID-19 protocols, and a few days later, at least a dozen bars in North Texas faced license suspension for violating coronavirus protocol, with more warnings and suspensions issued this past month.
As frustrating as much of the coronavirus protocol may be on your daily operations, the consequences of being found noncompliant will be detrimental to your immediate and long term operations. A bar in Austin, TX noted that a 30-day suspension is just as devastating as going out of business altogether. True, a few of suspension-receiving bar owners are seeking to appeal the decision, but this process, again, is a headache, and one that we hope to help you avoid altogether.
Although some of these stipulations may change, it is important to follow them and any updates to remain TABC compliant. Here are some key things to not overlook or under-prioritize when you are trying to keep your restaurant TABC compliant in the age of COVID-19:
- Only allow individuals who wear a face covering to enter your facility
- Have security check ID as well as personal protective measures (mask and overall wellness scan) in order to grant access to public areas. Do not allow individuals with excessive coughing, sneezing, or apparent fever to enter.
- Enforce social distancing & crowd capacity rules:
- We agree that your facility is typically more fun when it’s ‘full’ or crowded, that’s not the best move in the age of coronavirus protocol. Following this basic rule will help your establishment avoid getting flagged on social media for such violation.
- Follow a public safety checklist provided by Governor Abbot’s Strike Force
- Frequently disinfect surfaces that are touched by multiple people
- Provide hand sanitizing stations liberally throughout your establishment
- Minimize hand-to-hand contact or hand-to-surface contact as much as possible
The good news is that over the last few months of inspecting multiple thousands of locations across the state, TABC agents say that they’re pleased that most Texas bar owners operators are proactively following the COVID compliance rules and acting responsibly for their patrons.
The most recently difficult thing for businesses was the mandate in effect since June 26th, which states that “all bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51% of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages are required to close” but may “remain open for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages.” The ability for certain bars in Texas to mix drinks on premise and sell them to go is certainly confusing for some businesses, but it is a potential way to improve your profit margin.
COVID-19 shutdowns were not expected on your 2020 forecast, but keeping your business open and licensed should be a reasonable expectation! Please call us at LaBarba Permit Service to discuss what operating options may be right for you during this time.
Click here to see the guidelines and learn more about the governor’s efforts to reopen Texas. You can find TABC’s resources for businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, here.