Harris County is now the only Houston area county not allowing bars to reopen under Gov. Greg Abbott's latest COVID order.
Fort Bend County on Wednesday will join Chambers, Montgomery, Galveston, Brazoria and Waller County in allowing bars to reopen at 50 percent capacity.
Al Jara, owner of The Marquis II in West University, is currently operating as a restaurant under a previous order by Gov. Abbott requiring 75 percent capacity. But he says that's unsustainable.
“The reason why I need bars to reopen is because I need this 51 percent to go away. It's impossible. It's impossible for us to get to non-alcohol sales,” Jara vented on Instagram this week.
He says the governor needs to open it all back up, but he punted the decision to COVID hardliner Judge Lina Hidalgo.
“Most of the bars are open right now as restaurants. Take away the 51 percent. I have no problem opening at 50-percent capacity,” he added. “But now all the other bars are allowed to be opened that don't have a food and beverage permit. It puts people back to work.”
Jara argues he lost business over the past seven months that he'll never get back.
“When they open your local back up, it's 'Well, Stacy at this other bar I've been going to says hello to me when I walk in, she already knows what I want to order, so I'm just going to keep doing that,'” he says. “That forces that small business to re-find customers all over again. It's a death sentence.”
On top of that, his federal PPP loan still needs to be paid off.