LORENA, TX — Alcohol resumed flowing Wednesday in most of Texas after the spread of COVID-19 forced the shutdown of bars and dance halls, leading to livelihoods lost.
Some of the oldest and most respected bars in Texas called Wednesday's reopening one more step on the road to normalcy as owners pray it never happens again.
Papa Joe's owner Lisa Tambling calls the months-long bar shutdown damaging at the least.
"Not just the bar owners but the waitresses, all the musicians. It just has a trickle down effect and has affected everybody," she said.
Employment agencies say many of those people took more stable factory jobs and may never come back. Meantime, cooped up customers have become fed up.
"Oh no, no, no. I can't wait till it opens up. I'm ready. I've been ready," said customer Virginia Rangel.
While government leaders say the closure was to save lives, others think it hurt more than it helped.
"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 bartender Angela Carroll. "Not the America we thought we stood for."
Tambling wants to get back there and has vowed to claw her way back up the economic mountain.
"It'll be slow, but we want our waitresses to get their fair share. We want to hopefully get some musicians back in here and get them back to work. It will be slow but eventually I have faith. You have to have faith," said the bar owner.
"Faith that this iconic place on this iconic road will stand for more than just a good time. We are just a little beer joint alongside I-35, right along the main street of Texas," said Tambling.
She hopes it will stand for the fight for Texas values against an army of germs that almost did it in.