Bar shutdown, Mask mandate, COVID

Last month, bars were ordered to shut down once again by the state.

The city and state are both leaning on that executive order, to help slow the spread.

"We will continue to be conducting inspections this weekend, and every weekend for the foreseeable future," a representative of the Texas Alcohol Beverage Commission, Chris Porter, said.

Porter says agents will continue to keep bars in check with the current mandate.

"They will be back in Lubbock this weekend working with us both in the city and in the county, we will work on these folks that can't follow the rules," Mayor Dan Pope said during a city press conference on Wednesday.

For nearly a month now, Lubbock's COVID hospitalization rate has remained above 15% the threshold keeping bars from operating legally.

Porter says the T.A.B.C. wants businesses to do the right thing.

"We always give the business the opportunity to voluntarily comply first, before we take stronger action," he said.

In the time that bars have been ordered to shut down, 3 were found to have violated the rules, including Kong's and The Library in the Depot District, and Charley B's on 4th street.

"Our primary goal is to ensure public safety," Porter said.

Per the governor's executive order, a first violation could lead to a 30 day suspension of a liquor license. 

If it continues, that could mean an additional 60 days.

Permanent suspension is a last resort, however Porter says, that has not happened yet in the entire state. 

"The vast majority of businesses are doing what they need to do," he said. "Out of that 23,000 [inspections], we've had a total of about 650 violations," he explained. "And of those, only about 200 had to serve some sort of suspension."

There are two ways for a bar to legally re-open right now in Lubbock.

Either re-classifying as a restaurant, or waiting until the hospitalization rate falls beneath 15% for a continuous week.

The T.A.B.C. does allow for anonymous tips, you can reach them by e-mailing complaints@tabc.texas.gov or by using the mobile app.

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