Restaurant and bar owners eager to open after long closures

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- Texas bars are getting ready to reopen and restaurants are adding tables as Friday marks another milestone for business reopenings in Texas.

Bars, bowling alleys, and bingo halls are allowed to reopen Friday at 25 percent capacity, according to phase two of Gov. Greg Abbott's plan.

The Marquis II on Bissonnet plans to open its doors at noon after a 65-day closure. The iconic bar has been in Houston for 75 years.

"Closed a long time," said owner Al Jara. "It's an eternity."

Thursday evening, he and his staff were prepping the bar and organizing tables. They will follow all safety guidelines, Jara says, but expect some challenges tomorrow.

"We don't know how many people will be coming, how quickly we get to 25 percent, or if we get to 25 percent at all. We don't know if reservations are the best way to do it. We don't know," said Jara.

On Friday, restaurants can also increase their capacity to 50 percent.

Jimmy Cantu, owner of Pier 36, with locations in Richmond and Fulshear, says customers are slowly coming back.

"I think once they see what we're doing and feel comfortable, people are coming back. Looking for that normal again," Cantu said. So far, he thinks his restaurant has weathered the storm.

"It's not ideal and it's not exactly where we were, but we are pleased with where we are and we are very fortunate," he said.

Follow Jessica Willey on Facebook and Twitter.
Copyright © 2020 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.