In a surprising twist, the TABC has amended a previous rule that kept several bars from re-opening during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a report from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, bars can now have the opportunity to qualify as a restaurant if they have, "food service facilities at the location, offer at least two entrees that customers may order, and offer food sales for the entire time that alcohol is offered."

Previously, bars that wished to re-open as a restaurant had to have a commercial grade kitchen, and could not count sales that came from pre-packaged food made off-site to prove that 51% of their sales involved food.

“Many establishments that would have otherwise remained shuttered will be able to reopen and operate in a safe manner due to these amendments,” the TABC stated. “This result will not only help mitigate the economic crisis in the State of Texas resulting from the COVID-19 disaster, it will also protect the welfare of thousands of members of the regulated industry and their employees who rely upon the income from these establishments to support themselves and their families. Without the option offered by this rule amendment, many of these establishments will be forced to close permanently within the next 30 days."

Now, bars can partner with a food truck and more easily qualify for a Food and Beverage (FB) Certificate. Bars will still be responsible for keeping track of their sales to ensure that their alcohol sales do not exceed 51% of all sales.

I'm not quite sure how adding food services makes a person any less susceptible to COVID-19, but uhm, whatever works right. Bars were already expected to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, but maybe adding this food "loophole" makes the TABC feel better about the previous guidelines.

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