Abilene Mayor Pleads to Governor Abbott to Reopen the Bars
ABILENE, TX – Abilene Mayor Anthony Williams, a coronavirus survivor, sent a letter to Governor Abbott on Friday asking that he reopen the bars.
The following is the full letter sent to Gov. Abbott:
Dear Governor Abbott
Thank you for your unwavering leadership amidst the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the pivotal decisions you have made to protect thousands of Texans. I thank you for your September 17, 2020 executive order further expanding occupancy levels for restaurants, which will certainly benefit the hospitality and food service industry in West Texas at a time when businesses and employees in Abilene need relief now.
As Texas is making great strides in slowing the spread ofCOVID-19. the City’ Council of the City of Abilene respectfully requests that you accommodate a regional approach to reopening bars, distilleries. And similar establishments that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from food sales, just as you have for others throughout our state. Although some bars have been able to reclassify themselves to meet the 51 percent threshold, many more establishments - particularly the small, family-owned businesses that make up the fabric of Abilene are unable to make this shift due to overwhelming costs and regulatory uncertainty.
Many businesses in the City of Abilene and the Big Country are struggling to survive and numerous bar owners have contacted the City Council with concerns over the prospective loss of their entire livelihoods.
I am confident that the bars in Abilene and the Big Country’ are wholeheartedly committed to enforcing crowd-control guidelines and following strict safety’ protocols as outlined by several associations representing these groups. Furthermore. I am confident in the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission’s ability’ to support a staggered reopening plan. The City Council respectfully requests that Texas begins careful, measured steps to phase-in bars and similar establishments and help restore the jobs and revenue from the industry.
In addition to this regional approach for the reopening of bars, distilleries, and similar establishments, the City Council respectfully requests that you consider a regional approach to wearing masks in public. Under this approach masks in public would not be required, but rather encouraged whenever 40% or more of hospital capacity is available for COVID- 19 treatment in a region, or where a region has an active infection level of 2% or less of the population.
Again, thank you for your leadership and your consideration of our request.
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