Nearly ten months into the shutdown caused by a worldwide pandemic, it can be easy to let your guard down for just a taste of normalcy. Restaurant and bar owners are doing the absolute best they can to provide that escape for patrons, but owners are required to abide by COVID-19 protocols to remain open and maintain their TABC license.
The alcohol attorneys at Griffith & Hughes have witnessed firsthand the importance of following COVID-19 guidelines in keeping businesses open, and we have fought to open businesses that were previously shut down.
New Normal in Restaurants and Bars
Restaurants and bars are not the same now as they were pre-COVID-19. This is because as long as the governor’s COVID-19 orders are still in place, employees have to implement social distancing and often have to keep their patron limit within a reduced capacity.
At first, this may seem like it ruins the restaurant or bar atmosphere. In reality, it gives patrons a sense of normalcy, and it is one of the few opportunities to take off your mask in a public place while consuming food or beverage. Restaurants and bars are places where you can meet with friends or loved ones, and this is still possible despite the pandemic. Many owners have maintained their TABC license, implemented safety measures, catered to dining and curbside patrons, educated their employees on COVID-19 protocols, and so much more to provide the safest environment for their patrons during a time when we need it most. Many of these locations are small businesses trying to remain open to provide a paycheck for their employees. Many people would agree these places should remain open as a sign of hope for when this pandemic and the shutdown are over.
Noncompliance of COVID-19 protocols
However, restaurants and bars could be shut down for noncompliance with these protocols. Some counties have created specialized task forces to shut down noncompliant TABC licensees and permittees, and TABC officials are inspecting locations for compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.
In many cases, the majority of businesses are complying with the guidelines. Sometimes, it comes down to one person not following the protocols. If patrons are not following the guidelines, such as not wearing masks when they’re not seated, the business could be shut down.
Supporting Small Businesses
While there is not a timeline of when this pandemic and shutdown will end, patrons and employees who follow the COVID-19 guidelines can help keep these businesses open. In a time where we celebrate small businesses, patrons can do their part by abiding by the guidelines. Many of the guidelines are for employees, and the ones for patrons are less restrictive. Visiting your favorite bar or restaurant and abiding by the guidelines shows a small gesture of support for your favorite establishment.
In addition, thank the employees you interact with. Without them, restaurants and bars could not remain open. Restaurant and bar employees face new challenges in their jobs because of the pandemic, and they deserve gratitude for taking on these new challenges in stride. Many employees are still providing top quality service and human connection while still following their protocols, and they should be celebrated for that. If you are employed at a restaurant or bar establishment, we all extend our gratitude to you for all you do for your patrons; continue to follow the COVID-19 guidelines so your location has a better chance at remaining open.
Many of us are exhausted from all of the precautions required to go out in public, but these precautions are not going away yet. If we want to grow our economy despite this pandemic and keep our businesses open, we have to do our part too. Restaurants and bars provide us human connection, good food and drinks, and good times. We want to see them remain open to provide these key necessities in the midst of a global crisis. You can support small businesses by complying with the COVID-19 protocols.