The Whiskey Girl bar in Abilene opened Monday night, four days before Gov. Greg Abbott’s order allows bars to do so.
Abbott’s Phase Two plan for reopening the state’s economy allows bars to resume operations at 25% capacity on Friday. But that’s not soon enough for Coy Chew, who announced on Facebook Monday that he was unable to wait another week to reopen the Whiskey Girl. Chew said he’ll open his bar daily this week at 4 p.m.
Chew said his payroll was too low to qualify for the Paycheck Protection Program, and after an initial confirmation for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, he never heard anything more. He and some other bar owners even tried crowd-funding campaigns. Recently, Chew get a second job selling cars.
The Whiskey Girl has a capacity of 200 patrons inside and 40 on the patio. Chew had someone counting patrons at the door Monday night, trying to keep the total below 50.
In an email, Abilene City Manager Robert Hanna said that after consulting with the city attorney they would not be sending the police to enforce the order that currently keeps bars closed. He noted however that bars are licensed by the State of Texas and are at risk of losing that license or facing fines for not following Abbott’s orders.
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