Harris County remains one of the only counties in Houston area where bars can't reopen

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BySteve Campion KTRK logo
Thursday, October 15, 2020
Bars outside of Harris Co. get ready for reopening
It's been a long time coming for these southeast Texas bars that are being allowed to reopen. In the video, one bar explains that it will accomodate social distancing in this way.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- In what seems like a throwback to the days when a map of Texas' "wet" counties looked like a patchwork quilt, Gov. Greg Abbott's order that allows county judges to open bars has produced a hit-and-miss list of where you can get a drink.

READ MORE: Texas bars can reopen to 50% capacity, but decision up to county judges, Gov. Abbott says

WATCH: Oct. 7, 2020, report on the Texas bar reopenings order

She quickly took to Twitter after the governor gave county judges the choice to reopen and said Harris County can't reopen bars until "virus is under control."

Last week, Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo indicated that she's staying firm on keeping bars closed despite the governor's guidance.

While Hidalgo's stance means bar owners, including those in Houston, will wait longer to revive their businesses, watering holes outside of the county, where COVID-19 restrictions have arguably been relaxed, are expected to reopen.

Here's a list of where counties stand on the reopening order:

Brazoria County

County Judge Matt Sebesta said his county will opt in to reopening at 50% capacity. He made the decision on Friday after consulting with the county's district attorney, sheriff, health department and public health authority.

Chambers County

Bars are able to open at 50% capacity, according to a statement from County Judge Jimmy Silvia.

Fort Bend County

Fort Bend County Judge KP George gave the greenlight on Tuesday to let the bars in his county operate under Gov. Abbott's 50% capacity limit.

Galveston County

County Judge Mark Henry has committed to reopening bars under the governor's order. Henry made the announcement Thursday.

Henry is even hosting a happy hour to mark the occasion.

Harris County

Bars will remain closed until further notice, according to County Judge Lina Hidalgo. Despite the order, many establishments have opened under waivers from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission due to selling food.

Liberty County

Liberty County bars are being allowed to resume operations at 50% capacity, according to County Judge Jay Knight.

Matagorda County

Bars in Matagorda County can open at 50% capacity.

Montgomery County

Bars are allowed to open at 50% capacity, according to an order from County Judge Mark J. Keough.

San Jacinto County

County Judge Fritz Faulkner is allowing establishments to open at 50% capacity, according to an order issued Oct. 9.

Waller County

Waller County bars will be allowed to open at 50% capacity, according to a statement from County Judge Trey Duhon.

Wharton County

Bars in Wharton County are allowed to open at 50% capacity.

SEE ALSO: The reasons a Houston-area county leader gave for full reopening

With Texas Gov. Greg Abbott poised to address possible reopenings entering the 7th month of the state's COVID-19 crisis, one Houston area county judge gives his reasons for not just reopening businesses, but at a 100% capacity. Watch the video and see whether you agree with the judge.

Bar owners face uncertain future, depending on location

Falynn Locke with The 59 Hangout in Porter said she's very happy their establishment is in Montgomery County.

"I am incredibly grateful. As soon as I heard that it was going to be up to the county judge, I was thrilled because our judge is fantastic," said Locke. "I don't really know in my heart of hearts how much longer we could have hung on."

Grace Miller owns ReHab Bar on the Bayou in Houston. She said they reopened as a restaurant, doing everything in their power to stay in business.

"We want to open. We need to be open. We need to do business," said Miller. "When we were closed, we were still paying for the alarm, electricity, for sewer, and for water. We have a lot of ground to make up."

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