In a move that has left many local Amarillo bar owners scrambling to make ends meet Governor Abbott has declared that bars will be allowed to open at fifty percent capacity effective October 14.

“It is time to open them up,” said Abbott in a video posted Facebook Wednesday afternoon. “Bars must follow distance and seating protocols, just like restaurants have used, as well as other protocols that are intended to contain the spread of Covid.”

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According to an update to the state’s minimum standard health protocols for Covid-19, all employees and customers at bars must wear a face covering over the nose and mouth “wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another individual not in the same household, except when seated at the bar or similar establishment to eat or drink.” Also, tables should “generally” be at least six feet from one another, dance floors are supposed to be closed, and employees should be screened before coming into the establishment.

Restaurants have since been able to reopen and are now allowed to seat up to 75 percent of regular capacity in their dining rooms. Until now, bars and river tubing operations, which will also be able to reopen at 50-percent capacity on October 14, were the only types of businesses that remained closed by the state.

Additionally Abbott said Wednesday that businesses that are currently allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity, like movie theaters, amusement parks, zoos, aquariums, and fine-art galleries, can now operate at 75-percent capacity.