LORENA, TX — As of Wednesday, bars have reopened in Texas. If you think that's the talk of the town in some circles, you may be right, but people talk about other things too. Starting Wednesday, they can resume doing it with their bartender.
Bad relationships, hunting and fishing, Papa Joe's bartender Angela Carroll thought she'd heard it all, until coronavirus came to town. Within weeks, people in her line of work had to start scrambling for a dwindling supply of other gigs.
"We're talking about waitresses, bar owners, musicians, I mean, they had to suffer the trickle down effect of it. It was, it was magnificent," she said.
Many bar owners shut down thinking they'd re-open in a few weeks. After some time, some clubs used what some called a change in Texas law.
To reopen, a lot of bars technically turned into restaurants by serving no more than a bag of peanuts or pretzels with a drink. Others served more than that.
Papa Joe's remained one of the few that stayed true to what it is.
"This is a Texas honky-tonk saloon. Anything else would be to be dishonest. Exactly," said Lisa Tambling, Papa Joe's owner.
In the pandemic, plenty of businesses were lost as business people adjusted to a new normal.
"Just, you know, we're getting used to the mask. Got used to yours. Oh yes I work with it on." said customer Virginia Rangel.
Bartenders say they've heard more defiance than compliance.
"When you've got a government that tells you that you can or can't do something, and pretty much desert, destroys your livelihood and stops you from doing something, yeah. I mean, we're, this is America," said Carroll.
As America struggles to return to what it used to be before the pandemic, many at Papa Joe's feel reopening brings the country just a tiny bit closer. They say they'll work hard to follow Texas' rules to the letter because they don't want to lose this place again.