BRAZOS VALLEY, TX — It’s the first-day Aggies can walk into their favorite bars, both maskless and without crowd limitations. But how can bars ensure they're not becoming super-spreaders in Brazos?
It has been nearly a year since the world's view of going out and enjoying a drink with friends changed. Today, Texans can return to some of their go-to spots without being required to wear a mask.
However, there are still many opposing views on this topic, as some business owners might be happy to fill up their establishments... but they also don’t want to upset customers who may feel uncomfortable with these changes.
”I think the biggest, most important factor, is you know, the public's reaction to whether to go mask or no mask," said Samuel Smith, the organizer of BCS Business Owners and Entrepreneurs. "There’s a lot of people sitting on both sides of the fence,”
Local bars and restaurant owners may have different rules and regulations. If so, they will implement them to their customers.
“Certain businesses, or specifically with the bars, if they want you to still wear a mask or social distance within their business then they're going to let you know that,” said Adrian Austin, a grad student at Texas A&M.
But college students are excited to have a little bit of freedom back as they enjoy a night out on the town. Despite the fact, that Brazos county is reporting 80 percent of new confirmed cases of COVID-19, are from the 18-24-year-old age group.
”I always have to carry my mask in my hands and I can put it on if I feel like I'm not safe enough," said Rene Francis, a grad student at Texas A&M. "The fact that I have that option of taking it off if I wanted to makes me feel a little bit happier and a little bit free,”
With Saint Patrick's day weekend celebrations just around the corner, the Northgate district should see an increase in crowds.
By providing outdoor seating, some bars will still try to mitigate the risk of super spreading the virus.
“I think we’ll see some of that implemented for St. Patrick's day weekend, to kind of cut down on crowd size or people being gathered in a close vicinity,” said Austin.
As businesses dip their toes into a world with lifted regulations. They’ll be looking to see how the public is responding to the changes, which will determine how they move forward as an individual establishment.
“I think the next two weeks, especially over spring break. I think we’ll see some businesses start to move towards no masks and see what the public response is to it and if the public has a positive response, I think then other businesses are going to follow suit,” said Smith.
Samuel Smith says he's excited to perform with his band on the patio of Yesterdays Bar and Grill for their St. Patrick's Day celebration and that he's excited to see the foot traffic of locals come back.
Bars and restaurants can operate at 100 percent capacity. Many owners are busy preparing for the influx of excited college students to come.