The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission suspended the licenses of four Houston bars for not following COVID-19 safety protocols.
According to an October 20 press release, the following establishments will not be able to sell alcohol to the public for 30 days:
- Spire, a nightclub in Midtown
- The Standard, a bar on Washington Avenue
- Sol Billares, a sports bar in Southwest Houston
- Lux Lounge, a lounge and dance club in Spring/Cypress
TABC inspected over 1,300 bars and restaurants in the last week as part of its continuing efforts to ensure permit holders are following proper guidelines regarding capacity limits and social distancing. One bar in Dallas and another in Fort Worth also had their licenses suspended as a result of the recent inspections.
"These violations represent a very small number of the more than 20,000 licensed businesses inspected by TABC since the beginning of May," TABC chairman Kevin J. Lilly said in a statement. "A large majority of business owners are showing their commitment to keeping customers and employees safe, and we’re grateful for all of their hard work. TABC is committed to assisting the industry as we all work for a safe Texas."
Spire has lost its liquor license for the second time since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. In June, TABC suspended the club's license for 30 days after a video of the crowded club went viral. A representative for Spire owner the Clé Group tells CultureMap the violation was related to face coverings rather than for capacity or social distancing.
Gov. Greg Abbott allowed bars to reopen at 50-percent capacity beginning October 14. However, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo declined to allow bars to reopen. Many have taken advantage of changes in TABC rules that allow them to operate as restaurants.
The commission performed similar enforcement actions when Abbott allowed bars to reopen in June. At that time, four Houston-area bars — HandleBar, BARge 295, Prospect Park, and Bokeeters Cocktail Bar — had their licenses suspended.